BUJUMBURA April 14th (ABP) – A study on “the inventory of the situation of the use of digital technology in schools” carried out in the provinces of Bubanza, Bururi, Cankuzo, Ngozi, Kirundo, Ruyigi, Makamba, Gitega and Mwaro and the city of Bujumbura reveals that the introduction of digital education in the Burundian education system will be a solution to the multiple challenges faced by several schools. The study was commissioned by the Coalition Education for All –Bafashebige – (Coalition EPT Bafashebige) and carried out by Consultant Cassien Gashirahamwe.
The results of the study show that information and communication technologies (ICTs) would complement, enrich and positively transform education. This is fully truer that in Burundi, the teacher’s tools are still the blackboard and chalk and that in addition, laboratory equipment and books are lacking in some schools. For example, the results of the National Diagnosis of School Infrastructure and Equipment (DNIES) show that only 223 school sites have laboratory blocks, i.e., approximately 3.96% of the school sites listed; 632 school sites have libraries, i.e., approximately 11.23% of the school sites surveyed and 4,292 school sites have administrative blocks, i.e., approximately 76.25% of the school sites surveyed. The introduction of information and communication technologies is recent in education in Burundi, while computer education has been organized in technical schools since the 2000s.
According to Consultant Gashirahamwe, it was with the reform that led to the introduction of basic school (ECOFO) with the 2013-2014 school year that IT was taken into account in the program. It is not taught as a school subject in its own right but in the field of “science and technology”, he said. In this area, the ICT program is an “Initiation to Computer Science” divided into three classes of cycle 4 of ECOFO and whose subjects vary from the level of training to another.
Thus, in class 7, the subject taught relates to the computer and its peripherals, operation of the computer. In the grade 8, the subject covers the constituents of a desktop computer, the properties and characteristics of a folder, the techniques used to read and use an audio file, the tree structure, the formatting of a table in a text document, the insertion of images and the layout and printing of a Word document. In the 9th grade, pupils learn, among other things, how to open and close an Excel software, the description of a Microsoft Excel window, the creation of a document and data entry, the creation of graphs from a data table in Excel and e-mail.
The study also reveals that this discipline is not taught by specialists in the computer science discipline. However, teachers will receive, in the school networks, the necessary support for the use of IT tools in the classroom as well as training in the design of experimental materials. In school institutions without laboratories but connected to electricity, one would experiment with the observation of projected video scientific experience, specifies the study.
The October 2021 global statistical report on digitalization mentioned in the study shows that Burundi had 1.61 million Internet users in January 2021 and that, in addition, the number of Internet users increased by 452 thousand (+ 39%) between 2020 and 2021 while Internet penetration was 13.3% in January 2021.