Construction of a new Creative Learning Classroom at the existing Stepping Stones School in Nkhata Bay in Northern Malawi.
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.
DATUM are delighted to be working in partnership with the TURING TRUST on this project. The Turing Trust will be supplying and installing 16 new computers, related equipment and educational resources for the pupils and teachers. DATUM are also supplying books for the library.
This project is approved and is due to start on site in May 2022 after the rainy season.
It is evident that the ethos of the Stepping Stones School as a whole and the proposed new classroom in particular aligns very closely with what DATUM FOUNDATION are trying to achieve as a charity.
COMPUTER CLASS: The benefits of a computer lab in this area reach far beyond the school and its pupils and has benefits that include and empower the community
Digital information and communication technologies (ICT’s) 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.
According to one estimate, however, 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.
This part of the initiative is aimed at ensuring each pupil at the school will have hands-on access to modern computers.
The new building will provide a secure room for a proposed new ICT Classroom and the installation of all required power and lighting systems.
“The pupils at Stepping Stones would benefit greatly from having a dedicated space for play, reading and learning how to use computers” – Alice Leaper
LIBRARY: The ability to read opens the door to a universe of facts and a world of the imagination
Another part of the project is to build and equip a library. This will be a simple room where books, and magazines are kept together for access and use by the school’s pupils.
A school needs a library because they play an important role in supporting the school’s work of literacy and education. A school library encourages good reading habits that can be formed when children are young. This will help improve both their schoolwork and their reading skills.
The aim is to have a wide variety of books with vocabulary that suits all skill levels. This will include reference books and text books related to the national curriculum. Also, fiction books in English and the local languages will also be provided.
DATUM already has a collection of suitable books that can be sent to the school. It is proposed that we also make a small grant to buy books locally in the Chichewa and Tonga languages.
DATUM and the Turing Trust are committed to creating high quality schools so that all members of the community can have access to a decent education.