Internet charges waived for students amidst COVID-19 lockdown

Students should be made aware of career guidance services. Net photo

Internet has been made free for students to be able to access online resources that are available to facilitate the students to go on with their studies during the ongoing countrywide lockdown.

The lockdown is aimed at containing coronavirus.

The move was made by telecommunication companies in Rwanda after students expressed worries over expensive internet as an obstacle to e-learning.

According to MTN Rwanda, they have partnered with the Ministry of ICT and the Ministry of Education to ensure students can access e-learning platforms for free, in an announcement made on Wednesday, March 25.

Since the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Rwanda, Government instituted measures it deemed adequate to mitigate the risks of further spreading of the virus.

Among these measures, a decision was made that all schools and higher education institutions (both public and private) would close for an initial of two-week period starting Monday, March 16, 2020.

This period will most likely be extended given that a week after, a two-week of countrywide lockdown went into force after the number of cases increased in Rwanda.

Currently, there are 41 confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Rwanda.

Freely accessed platforms:

University of Rwanda:

Rwanda Education Board:

Rwanda Polytechnic:

Appearing on state radio earlier this week, Charles Muligande, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Institutional Advancement of the University of Rwanda, said that students should not feel pressured as “upon resuming normal classes, lecturers would have to do a quick recap for some who may have not had the chance with e-learning to catch up”

“Therefore, exams will not be taken immediately.”

Reacting to the move to ease their access internet the students welcomed it but suggested that remaining minor issues should be fixed to make e-learning more practical.

Paul Rwigema studies IT at the College of Science and Technology. He welcomes the move as it clears off the most pressing obstacle they had.

“It is going to be helpful for those who cannot afford bundles. However, for instance, the bulk of my class do not have credentials to log in to the platform. There are still login challenges, how we get or restore our credentials. I think they can provide us with guidelines to use it and where to get help when an issue is encountered,” he suggested.

Apart from students who are being supported to continue learning, people working from home will also be introduced to affordable working-from-home bundles.

This article was first published at The New Times.