UbuntuNet Alliance would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the concerted effort by the Ministry of Education, Rwanda, towards re-establishing the Rwanda Education Network (RwEdNet). This is to enable the Rwandan National Research and Education network to participate actively in the Eastern and Southern African Regional Research and Education Network (RREN) which consists of 16 member countries.
In the meeting held to discuss this, the Rwandan Ministry of Education was represented by the Chief Digital Officer, Ms. Bella Rwigamba while UbuntuNet Alliance was represented by the CEO, Professor Madara Ogot, the Technical Manager, Joe Kimaili and the Project Manager, Eliakim Okundi. Although the week of the 9th to 13th May was largely dedicated to the eLearning Africa, very fruitful discussions were held in between which reaffirmed the need to support full operationalization of the RwEdNet. Key points of discussion were the need to upgrade the existing Internet capacity to 10Gbps to augment the ever-rising consumption needs by the Country’s institutions of learning. UbuntuNet Alliance is known in the region for its more affordable and efficient connectivity service. While confirming the position of the Ministry on this strategic step, the Chief Digital Officer noted that all resources are ready for re-establishment of the National Research and Education Network and also to support upgrade of the bandwidth. All these, she added, should be in place by the year 2023.
Similar discussions were also held with both the University of Rwanda (UR) and the Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA) who are currently the beneficiaries of the connectivity. Until today, the university has enjoyed a good reputation locally and regionally for its track record in quality teaching. Its existence is predicated on the need to provide Christ-centered wholistic quality education to prepare for service in this world, and in the life to come. In the meeting which was chaired by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Kelvin Onongha, it was noted that there is need to relook at the Internet capacity currently extended to the university and plan on ways of upgrading it to cater for the rising demand.
The meeting with the UR was chaired by Dr. Papias Malimba Musafiri, Deputy-Vice Chancellor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Advancement. UR is a leading University that develops highly enterprising graduates prepared and dedicated to building a more just and sustainable society locally, nationally and globally, with appropriate innovations that advance quality of life. Dr Papias reiterated the fact that re-establishment of the NREN has taken longer than expected and that the institution cannot wait to see RwEdNet re-established again.
During the meetings with the two leading universities, the UA CEO stressed on the need for the institutions to think beyond the connectivity which is already a default service that every institution should have in place. He added that focus should now shift to provisioning of contents to the universities. To this end, UbuntuNet Alliance has partnered with the Association of African Universities (AAU) to develop the content. The Alliance will provide the platform for hosting the content while the AAU will work with the continental universities to promote the service and do necessary quality checks.