Campaigning for change
DEVELOPMENT| Sept. 9, 2012, 2:57 p.m.
By Hudson Kazonta, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
A young school teacher in Tanzania’s Singida region is helping drive a project to equip schools with ICTs, to improve children’s access to learning materials.
The teacher, John Mkumbo, notes that ICTs are important for development – particularly in schools, where children can surf the internet for learning materials and research.
However, with too few people having internet access – 6 million in Tanzania, according to International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication/ICT Development Report and database – more needs to be done to take access to schools.
Mkumbo, a qualified school teacher with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, tells Biztechafrica this is what drove him to introduce a project aiming to provide computers to schools in collaboration Friends Family Community Connection. The plan is to take computer access to students and their communities.
Mkumbo says the project, which is known as “Rural Schools computer project in Central Tanzania” will help selected few schools to have computers for their students and is being provided at no cost.
The beneficiaries of the project will be students, teachers and the community who are living near the school, whereby will be provided computers which will be connected with internet.
He says the project will run under the supervision of a project supervisor and the head of the school concerned. Other stakeholders will be involved too, including students, teachers and community members.
The project aims to use computers to train students, teachers and community members and to serve as a resource centre for the community, as well as providing provide stationery services.
Mkumbo says the project will address two big problems in Tanzanian schools: a lack of enough teachers focusing on science subjects, and a lack of teaching and learning materials.
“Therefore with this project students can access materials and other resources if he/she has a computer. Using computer aided teaching, one teacher can teach many students at once. Another reason is because I myself I have a Bachelors Degree in information Technology so I felt responsible to help my fellow Tanzanians to get used to this very new Technology,” he adds.
Explaining about obstacles which can face him during implementation of the project he said, lack of enough computers for at least every school to have its own computer lab is the one big problem which facing many school in the country.
The project has so far installed one lab, with only 10 computers, at Gunda Secondary school. This lab too faces challenges, because it does not meet the full needs of the school’s 600 students. However, thanks to the lab, the students are getting some access to word processing, spread sheet and graphics programs and are able to search for materials and answers from the internet on their own.
In addition, teachers are now able to source supplementary materials from the internet instead of depending on limited books. Science teachers can now demonstrate experiments by using videos online, he says.
“One challenge is a lack of strong internet connection. Currently they are getting little and limited internet connection from Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL). The only alternative is to get internet dish,” he says.
Speaking about the cost of implementing the project, Mkumbo says the project is being rolled out in collaborationwith Friends Family Community Connection (FFCC) from USA, who are helping to get computers and other necessary equipment.
Mkumbo urged the government to increase its support to local entrepreneurs even in remote areas because they have a very big contribution in the development of the country.
He said also other NGOs who are working in providing the computers to school are being welcomed to work together with him in order to sustain the project and make many schools to get the computer services.
MORE DEVELOPMENT NEWS
Ericsson’s Connect to Learn wins Total Telecom 2015 Africa awardEricsson has been recognized with a 2015 Africa Award for “Social Contribution” for its Connect To Learn initiative. Read More
Airtel supports 41 schools in the LEAP Hubs programmeBharti Airtel has partnered with Chandaria Foundation and the Global Peace Foundation to support 41 schools in Kenya in the LEAP Hubs entrepreneurship program through the provision of free internet connection. Read More
School calls for solar power for computer labThe Principal of the Girls Senior High School at Agege, Lagos, has appealed to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to explore the provision of alternative source of energy, especially solar, to power the computer laboratory the regulator just donated to the school. Read More
Airtel connects Bungoma Schools to the Internet for freeAirtel Kenya has connected Natombo CBM Primary and Secondary Schools in Kabuchai, Bungoma County to the Internet for free. Read More
Boost investment in Africa’s energy for a triple win, Annan report urgesAfrican governments, investors, and international financial institutions must significantly scale up investment in energy to unlock Africa’s potential as a global low-carbon superpower, says a new report from Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel. Read More
Airtel connects seven more schools for freeAirtel this week connected seven schools in Mombasa and Central regions as part of its efforts to support Kenya’s education system through its ambitious and unique Internet for Schools project. Read More
MTN Ghana launches Y’ello Care challenge to educate female porters in GhanaGhana’s leading network operator, MTN, has officially launched its 21 Days Y’ello Care Challenge in Accra under the theme Investing in Education for All. Read More
MTN SA Foundation injects R8m in a 21-day campaignMTN SA Foundation has injected an R8 million into the 21 Days of Y’ello Care campaign to capitalise on the partnership with the MTNers in the 2015 investments in education. Read More
Schneider Electric solar systems power new SA game lodge constructionAdSolar EPC chose photovoltaic (PV) innovation by the specialist in energy management, Schneider Electric, to power the creation of a new 22-room Rhino Ridge luxury game lodge bordering the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal. Read More
MTN employees rally to bring digitisation of learning and teaching to communitiesMTN Group today announced the start of its annual staff volunteer programme, 21 Days of Y’ello Care, which the company says will benefit thousands of learners and teachers from disadvantaged schools and communities across its footprint. Read More
FEATURED STORYIHS plans to inject fresh $500m to grow capacity
Mohammed Darwish, managing director of IHS Towers, says the firm will soon inject another $500million into the business after raising some $2.5billion to finance expansion drives. Darwish spoke with biztecafrica.com in Lagos.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAs curtain falls on MDGs, what next?
Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, speaks to Biztechafrica about setting smart targets.