Gunda students make the most of new ICTs
By Hudson Kazonta, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
They may have to share a PCs with up to four others at a time, but students from Gunda secondary school in Iramba District in Singida region say they are enjoying a world of new information and services, including reading books on internet, after being equipped with computers from Friends Family Community Connection (FFCC) from the USA.
The project which aims to equip several secondary schools with computers in order to facilitate their learning process, started its work in the region by giving ten computers to Gunda secondary school.
The school, which has more than 600 students, now uses the computers and internet connectivity to facilitate their learning process during their studies.
One of the teachers from Gunda Secondary School, who also is project leader, John Mkumbo, told Biztechafrica that the school is one of a number of other schools that will receive computers from FFCC.
Gunda School is the only secondary school from Ward level which has a computer laboratory in Singida Region, which has challenged other schools to start looking at ways to launch computer labs of their own.
Mkumbo says the project has allowed students to participate in discussions or forums on internet for the first time. In doing, he says, they become aware of many things which help to speed up their learning process.
Mkumbo adds that students can now access many different resources on the internet, and get information that helps them to understand their work, even if they lack some books in their library.
“Although schools don’t have enough books for the use of their students, they can get different learning materials from internet, so the students can study and expand their knowledge,” he says.
Speaking about some obstacles facing students in the school, Mkumbo said with only ten computers shared by over 600 students, three to five students end up sharing a computer at any given time. This makes it time-consuming to offer computer practice to all the students.
Many students don’t get enough time to make computer practice, because after school hours they have to go back to their homes to prepare food. The school does not have hostels, and many children are not able to return for practice after school.
Another obstacle is poor and limited internet connection, Mkumbo says. The school buys 1GB of internet a week, for around USD5 per Gig, which is costly for the school.
“There is no any financial assistance I get to run the project, for example buying internet time, maintaining the equipment and other costs which must be incurred during running internet facilities,” he says.
Mkumbo adds that in order solve some of these problems, the school need a satellite dish for its internet connection. In addition, he hopes the school will be able to acquire additional computers so that all students are able to have enough time to do practice.
Despite the challenges, Mkumbo says the project has been a blessing to the students and community. Hey urged government, individuals, stakeholders, companies and NGO to make every effort to support initiatives to take connectivity to schools. With them, he says: “We may build a strong society with skills and knowledge of technology in Africa.”