This is according to Scottish Teachers who visited Malawi recently, in order to train fellow secondary school teachers from their Partner schools in Computer usage and Information Communication Technology.
Addressing the media on the sidelines of the training, Team Leader for the Scottish group, Maureen Martin said through the partnership that St. Andrews has with 8 rural Community Day Secondary Schools in Mulanje district the Scottish High School learnt that the English language and Grammar was one of the biggest challenges that make Malawian students fail to pass many other subjects that they learn in class, hence the need for their partnership to concentrate on that area.
She added that worse are students from rural areas like the ones that they had partnered with, where extra information sources such as Library books, the internet and Television are not readily available.
“We understand that English is the hub of education in the Malawian educational setup: Thus if a student does not understand the English language very well, it is hard for him/er to do well in other subjects as everything is taught and examined in the English language, therefore better understanding of the language makes it easy for our students to grasp what the teacher is telling them in class,” explained Martin.
Training the teachers in Computer operation and Internet usage was as one way of channeling the same knowledge to their students so that when the students are prepared to manage computers and surf the internet the Partners would provide necessary materials to allow them access information.
Said Martin; “we will be providing necessary teaching materials to make the students learn and understand faster through e-mails and google drive, but we also know that it might not be easy to provide each and every student with a computer or an internet connected mobile phone, so in the mean time we have a track loaded with some laptops for the schools so that the teachers can access the materials on behalf of the students and those students that have internet on their phones can also be advised on where to find necessary information to help them.”
Commenting on the relevance of the initiative to the current education status of the country, Manager for Chitakale TDC Telecenter in Mulanje, Godfrey Mbulaje said the initiative was timely, regarding that currently many secondary schools Libraries do not have enough stock to feed students’ brains ahead of national examinations.
“You might agree with me that nowadays there are not many Libraries with enough books in Secondary Schools, and even our national Libraries are filled with books but still they are not enough for all the students that are preparing for exams currently, as such this initiative will actually play a role in minimizing the need that is there,” emphasized Mbulaje.
Mbulaje however bemoaned frequent internet failures experienced in the district which he said left unchecked would defeat the purpose of the initiative.
Adding to the sentiments, Alfred Banda a teacher at Namulenga Community Day Secondary School which lies at 30 kilometers from Mulanje boma said having his school benefiting from the partnership was going to allow many students from his school to do better in class and stand chances to go to University.
The Scottish – Malawi schools’ partnership dates back to October 2015.