Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, recently revealed that the government will have a Starlink pilot phase in at least 500 schools countrywide.
Provided by billionaire Elon Musk’s high-speed satellite internet venture, Starlink is scheduled to be up and running in Rwanda by February 22, according to Ingabire.
Though the list of schools that will benefit during the piloting stage is yet to be unveiled, The New Times has reached out to various schools in rural areas regarding their expectations.
Marceline Muhimpundu, the head teacher of GS Giheke located in Rusizi District, said that currently, they are using a 4G system, but it’s weak for a school and makes some activities slow or malfunction.
“In case we make it to the ones who will be part of the pilot phase, it would be more than helpful in our daily activities, such as conducting research, accessing online books, and recruitment of teachers among others,” she said.
Muhimpundu pointed out that they expect Starlink to be a game changer and deliver quality education driven by technology.
Head teacher of GS Gihinga II located in Rutsiro District, Gervais Ntirenganya, said that with such internet, the education system will get a boost, especially as they adapt to the use of technology, saying the network currently available is slow yet it has to be used for numerous purposes.
“For instance, the hard cover books are still few and e-books are mostly used, research as facilitation for our teachers is still low due to the lack of strong internet connection,” he explained.
Furthermore, Ntirenganya stated that the internet would also serve in cost reduction as well as security of the schools’ documents saying printing is costly and keeping hard documents is somewhat unsafe.
Elias Mukurarinda, the head teacher of GS Ruragwe located in Karongi District, pointed out that good internet is not only useful to schools, it also benefits the community around.
Mukurarinda said presently, the internet they are using doesn’t cover the entire school and the speed is slow which results in a lack of access to some useful and informative documents.
Magnificat Jean Damascene, head teacher of GS Gati in Nyanza District, said they expect Starlink to fill the gaps, such as connecting well even in rural areas, as the geographical location of their school makes it hard to access 4G internet.
In addition, he disclosed that as a new school, they are still struggling with a shortage of resources such as books, among others, but with a good internet connection they can use online resources in the meantime.
Jean Damascene Ndizeye, head teacher of GS Gituza in Ngoma District, said they expect Starlink to complement the current internet saying schools located far from fiber are still struggling. “Starlink can help ease our work, access information, and do research,” he said.
Ndizeye pointed out that looking at the world today, most activities involve technology and schools produce students who can participate in all aspects of life.