Fawema installs ICT in primary schools: Trains teachers

Forum for African Women Educationalists in Malawi (Fawema) has started applying use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in primary schools to improve quality in provision of basic education.

Under the project Connect for Change, Fawema is establishing ICT laboratories in primary schools and Teachers Training Colleges as well as applying a mobile phone SMS set-up system to connect with communities.

Currently on pilot-phase, the K28 million project has seen establishment of modern computer labs in four primary schools in Lilongwe rural east using Green-Computing with 20 teachers already trained on ICT with a goal of improving data managment.

Fawema Project Manager, Wallace Chigwenembe said in an interview the project would help schools graduate from manual to electronic data management as well enhance communication between schools and communities.fawema

According to Chigwenembe, the project mainly focuses on having improved parental and community support and involvement in teaching and learning process in the targeted schools and TTCs using ICT.

“Through the project schools graduate from manual data management to electronic. Now teachers are able to over come shortage of materials using internet. Using ICT they are able to develop lesson plan, learners’ progress reports, scheming, examination and results as well as accessing e-book,” explained Chigwenembe.

He said aside from reducing problems of manual data management, the schools stand to benefit from the project as they can use the installed ICT to generate funds by offering some of services to the public at a fee.

“Part of the project is Text for Change in which communities use free Front-line SMSs to communicate with the school administration in the day to day affairs of the school, thereby playing their part in improving the quality of basic education.

“The communities are orianted on how the project works. The SMSs system is right-based, people choose to join or not using a short-code. For effective operation, we work with all school structures institutionalised by government,” he added.

Patricia Goma a teacher at Nkhoma Primary School, one of the beneficiaries of the project, hailed Connect to Change for simplifying their work.

“It will reduce funds pupils contribute for publication of examination and results, and will definitely help in improving standards of education in the country aside from give us a chance to build up our qualifications,” said Goma.

Goma however noted the need for extended trainings to ensure the involved personnel is up to date with changes in the ICT sector.

The project is being implemented in partnership with Emmanuel Teachers Training College and Association of Christian Educators in Malawi (ACEM) with funding from Edukans.

ACEM Projects Officer, Martin Mbendera said the project was developed following a base-line survey that highlighted some of contributing factors to the dwindling standards of education in the country.

Mbendera explained: “Main challenge in the delivery of basic education is poor prepation and lack of proper structures on the ground. Poor community participation in provision of basic education has also been a challenge as well poor structures at TTC level”.

He said the project would be scalled up and extend to more primary schools in all regions of the country.

Under the project, parents, Mother Groups (MGs), Village Headmen, Primary Education Advisors (PEAs), Teachers Development Centre Coordinators will be trained in ICT.

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