Our Target: £9,000 Raised to Date...
Potential Beneficiaries: 230
DATUM’s latest project is the construction of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and library classrooms in the existing Stepping Stones School in the deprived Mkondezi district of Nkhata Bay. Set up by teacher Alice Leaper, the school currently has 230 pupils of which 112 are boys and 118 are girls ages 4 to 18. They are taught by 10 teachers and 1 teaching assistant. The school also has a vocational training class for students not progressing to secondary school.
The new Classrooms will be composed of two regular hexagons. Each providing an approximate area of 65m2. One will be used for the new Computer Classroom. The other for the library. In addition, there will be a covered entrance area where children can sit and read.
DATUM are delighted to be working in partnership with the TURING TRUST on this project, to help school children gain digital skills. Through its Programme for schools, the Turing Trust will be supplying and installing 16 new computers, related equipment and educational resources for the pupils and teachers. PCs will include Rachel which has Khan Academy and Offline Wikipedia among around a dozen other packages and LibreOffice as standard on all equipment. The Turing Trust will also network the classrooms to give access to server based software including Kolibri.
DATUM will be supplying books for the library.
This project started on site in May 2022 after the rainy season. The buildings have now been constructed, and the first decorating works have been commenced.
New technologies for learning
By the end of 2020, 495 million people subscribed to mobile services in Sub-Saharan Africa, representing 46% of the region’s population. This rapid expansion is already contributing to the region’s economic and social development – particularly in areas such as financial inclusion (mobile banking), health (mobile health) and farmers’ productivity. However according to one estimate only 8% of households in sub-Saharan Africa possess a computer. In remote rural areas few if any households have access to computers.
There are many physical and cultural factors that inhibit the complete adoption and integration of ICT practices by teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa including unreliable access to electricity and the limited provision of software and hardware. Other limiting factors include IT proficiency of teachers and an almost non-existent national policies on computer use in rural schools.
DATUM believes in empowering children in the developing world by providing them with access to education. We also believe that digital information and communication technologies (ICTs) are an essential element of a modern education. Computers have the potential to create a better learning environment and give access to the vast educational resources and knowledge of the World Wide Web.
One of DATUM’s main educational initiatives is ensuring that as many pupils as possible at Primary and Secondary Schools in Malawi can have access to such ICTs. Such hands-on use of computer hardware should provide huge potential improvements to each child’s education not just by familiarisation with the technology tools themselves (learning technology), but also by the acquisition of cognitive skills (learning through technology) by access to the Internet.
“The benefits of a computer lab in this area reach far beyond the school and its pupils. A computer lab will also have benefits that include and empower our community.” – Alice Leaper, Stepping Stones School founder