“Students should be well prepared for the challenges in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) environment”- Rwanda Minister of Education Dr. Valentine Uwamariya

05 Nov 2021

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has introduced a range of tech tools such as digitalization, deep data analytics, process automation, robotics, Artificial Intelligence ( AI), and the Internet of Things( IOT) that further streamline workflows and enable to accomplish greater things. The 4IR will therefore shape the future of education and will require accelerating workforce re-skilling the workforce. Aware of the challenges brought about by the 4IR and the technologies that drive it, participants in the recently concluded 6th Africa Regional Congress of ICME on Mathematical Education (AFRICA6) discussed how Teaching and Learning Mathematics in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) should be redesigned in a way that will enable students to cope with challenges of the 4IR environment. The conference was hosted online by the University of Rwanda through Innovative Teaching and Learning Mathematics and Science (ACEITLMS).

The conference provided the participants with insights and ideas that will enable them to shape the teaching approaches and the research areas that will make Mathematics instruction more impactful in the live of societies.

While officially opening the conference, the Honorable Minister of Education of the Republic of Rwanda, Dr. Valentine Uwamariya highlighted the need to prepare all students to the future they deserve. As digitalization has completely transformed today’s society, she indicated that students should consequently be prepared with the essential 21 century knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in life, career and citizenship. As far as mathematics instruction is concerned, she underscored the need to re-evaluate the kinds of competences that students should develop in the mathematics learning taking into consideration challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution environment.

“While the presence and impact of digital technology is not debated, especially after COVID-19 disruption on society norms, the optimal ways of embedding it in the education sector remain questionable,’’ she said. She added that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is perceived as the application of an amalgam of many technologies. Therefore, its application in the teaching and learning of mathematics should be investigated further.

She made it clear that not only students need to be equipped with skills and competencies, but also teachers should also possess sufficient knowledge and skills to prepare their students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

In this regard, the Honorable Minister argued that teachers’ professional development will play a key role in embracing the new pedagogy and innovative teaching practice to enhance learning.“A particular attention should be put on Mathematics Education, since mathematics was consistently reported to be weak in African countries at all levels, which reduces the number of students who choose mathematics as professional career’’, she recommended.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Rwanda, Professor Alexandre Lyambabaje also highlighted the need to devise strategies to teach better and in an effective way mathematics at all levels from primary to university taking advantage of information and communication technologies. According to him, "without mathematics it is very difficult to develop other areas of studies including law, social sciences and STEM itself.”

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Florien Nsanganwimana, the Acting Principal the University of Rwanda-College of Education also talked about the relevance of mathematics in all spheres of our life and its contribution to understanding scientific knowledge and its applications. According to him the AFRICME 6 was an opportunity to reflect back and forth on how best this goal of mathematic instruction can be fulfilled.

The AFRICME6 brought together around eighty (80) mathematics educators from eight ( 8) different nationalities within Africa, Europe, USA and ASIA.

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