By David Himbara
The 2020 Auditor General’s Report is a death announcement of the One-Laptop-Per-Child. Famously launched by General Paul Kagame in 2008, the project was to provide a laptop computer to every primary school child in Rwanda. After 12 years of implementation, the government discovered that the software and the hardware of the operating system were incompatible. This, after the government had already paid 99% of the cost of the project
General Paul Kagame famously launched One-Laptop-Per-Child (OLPC) on October 1, 2008. “We are going to turn the dream of all our children owning computers into reality”, proclaimed Kagame. Kagame further boasted that OLPC was “embedded in our development strategy of using ICT as an enabler of other sectors, including learning, as well as building a dynamic information technology industry.” Fast forward to 2020 – some 12 years since the famous launch, the OLPC is dead. The 2020 Auditor General’s Report is a death announcement of One-Laptop-per-Child.
According to the Auditor General’s Report, the One-Laptop-Per-Child project is a loss of the taxpayers’ money. The E-Solution for integrating the software and hardware into teaching and learning was designed for the Knowledge-Based Curriculum. However, the contract for the One-Laptop-Per Child was signed during the phased-out Competency-Based Curriculum. As the Auditor General explains, the government discovered that the laptops were “incapable of accommodating the E-Solution system package.” Given the fact that the government had already paid 99 percent of the costs, this “constitutes a loss of public resources” – concludes the Auditor General. In other words, just as Kagame’s Vision 2020 of turning Rwanda into a middle-income knowledge-based economy was a complete failure, so is One-Laptop-Per-Child. Goodbye to Kagame’s delusions of grandeur.