Niger is currently the lowest-ranked country in the world on the Human Development Index. Due to student, faculty and administrator strikes, it takes an average of five years for a university student to graduate with a three-year bachelor’s degree. To gain access to a quality higher education, the most talented students with the financial means to do so migrate to foreign countries and rarely return to Niger.
We are delighted to have supplied African Development University (A.D.U.) with laptops for their students. The newly opened university was struggling to provide ICT access to the students as computer equipment is scarce in the country. IT Schools Africa supplied 37 laptops to the university earlier this year, after meeting the co-founder, Meredith Segal.
A.D.U. was founded by a team from the Harvard Kennedy School and currently offers undergraduate programs, an MBA program, and executive courses. The university plans to train a new generation of skilled, ethical leaders and aspires to become a hub of innovation and excellence in higher education in West Africa over the next decade. We look forward to continuing to support them over the coming years.
Through our Community IT Outreach Programme we support local projects by providing high quality, refurbished IT equipment and technical support.
Our vision is to improve access for disadvantaged people so they can use e-Learning technology effectively.
We hope for users to recognise the benefit of e-Learning technology, that they will become motivated and confident and share their enthusiasm with others.
The GL11 Community Hub in Dursley, with help from IT Schools Africa, replaced all their ancient PC's with an up to date fully operational IT suite. This has saved the hub nearly £16,000 allowing valuable funds to be spent elsewhere.
The computer suite is used for regular weekly classes including; beginners and improvers computer classes, job club, homework club and computer skills for individuals with learning disabilities.
GL11 Community Hub commented “At least 100 people use the donated computers each week. Your donation was truly invaluable to us."
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We talked to our Programme Supervisor, Charlie in Zimbabwe about how he works to encourage teachers to integrate ICT into their day to day teaching, regardless of what subject is being taught.
Charlie visits schools to give them basic training in hardware, software and computer networking; during his visits he asks the teachers not to fear technology but to use it their advantage.
He introduces them to the basic concept of computer based tutorials and encourages them to set up their own 'IT lab support', showing them how they can support all of the school's ICT needs. He encourages teachers to experiment using the suite of educational materials provided by ITSA.
Another key area Charlie focuses on when training the teachers, is how to set up a local network with their computers. This can make a huge difference to schools that cannot afford expensive Internet costs, enabling them to share resources (cutting their operating costs), monitor students, centralise their IT administration and better communication.
The benefits are endless and as we support more and more schools they can start to develop and share their own tools for improving teaching methods and the management of day to day tasks.
We have well established, strong links with many of the local special needs schools and colleges like National Star College, Ruskin Mill, Belmont School and Alderman Knight School in Gloucestershire. We provide work experience placements for young adults with disabilities such as Asperger’s syndrome, autism and those suffering from mental and physical health problems. Working closely with their teachers and carers, ITSA offers individuals the chance to develop their social skills and become part of a relaxed working environment.
Over a period of four weeks Ben and Murray, two students from the National Star College, completed a work placement at IT Schools Africa. During this time they worked closely and were supported by staff from IT Schools Africa.
Murray, a very technical minded student spent some time re-building computers and loading Windows 10 ready for them to be shipped to Africa. Ben, a more practical minded student made sure that the hard drives were wiped before sending them on for refurbishment. Both students thoroughly enjoyed their placements:
“I really enjoyed it, I already knew quite a bit about computers but I learnt a lot from Monis. I wish it could have gone on for longer”.
As Ben is non verbal he rated his overall experience 10 out of 10. The tasks were set according to the student’s capabilities, skills and interests and were gauged very well. Students were kept busy for the entire placement and were challenged but not overwhelmed.
"We would like to thank you for your support and hope very much that you also found the experience working with the college a positive one. We hope very much that we can build on our relationship and work alongside you in the future".
Janet and Jonelle Job mentors
National Star College
In partnership with the Naivasha Technical Training Institution (NTTI), we are able to facilitate learning through the provision of ICT for schools and businesses in the Rift Valley.
Access to ICT is helping to transform the lives of young individuals; including Joseph and Kelvin who are studying electrical engineering and banking/finance at college, but who were previously were living on the streets. Thanks to the NTTI both boys can now use their laptops for their studies.
We strive to continuously sustain our ambition of providing an inspired future for the younger generation of Africans, through the pathway of education.
"In today’s digital economy, being able to use modern technology and navigate the Internet should be considered as important as English and Maths. But too many people struggle to get by." Karen Bradley MP
Digital exclusion is the inability to access online products or services or to use simple forms of digital technology. Lack of basic digital skills could include the ability to use a search engine to find information, complete online application forms, manage money or solve a problem using a digital service. This disproportionately affects vulnerable people, low-income groups, the elderly and the more marginalised communities in our society.
IT Schools Africa Community IT Outreach Programme is supporting local, grassroots community organisations and youth groups by donating good quality refurbished computers. We also help the local community with IT support, training and troubleshooting.
At the Cornerstone Centre in Cheltenham many users asked for assistance with general IT skills, checking and sending emails, printing and using the internet. These users range from young to old. Many have additional needs, learning difficulties or suffer with mental health issues. In addition, children from the homework club benefit greatly from access to computers as they do not have access to computers at home.
GL11 Community Hub commented “At least 100 people use the donated computers each week, from young vulnerable children, people with mental health problems and disabled people. Your donation was truly invaluable to us."
We want to reduce digital exclusion in our community and develop the Community IT Outreach Programme.
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Since the opening of the e-learning centre in February 2017, at the Joseph Community Christian School there has been a significant increase in enrolment; 17 secondary and 20 new primary students are now enrolled. This is because parents are assured that their children can receive an education in ICT in their community, without having to send them to schools with facilities much further away.
The ratio of pupils to computers has dramatically decreased from twenty pupils to one computer to two pupils to one computer, allowing double the time each pupil spends receiving ICT education. The amount of time students spend per week on computers has doubled; each student now has access to ICT for three sessions per week.
Before the e-learning centre was set up, the school couldn’t provide the national ICT exam for secondary students, however, after ITSA’s donation, 14 students have sat their exams, with 13 of them passing. This excellent pass rate is as result of the practical classes, allowing students and teachers to be more confident in the application of what they have learnt. The school were also able to let other local schools use the centre for exams, including a secondary school, which brought 14 students to write their mock exams and eight primary school pupils.
The school has made effective use of the centre; as an internet café which has attracted local business people from small to medium enterprises, enabling them to submit their tax returns online, as well as provide the school with additional income. The community has high rates of teenage pregnancy, HIV and AIDS but the local government is promoting the school as a beacon of hope and success as the computer lab gives the community with prestige and improvements in the area.
You can help us make more of these e-Learning centres a reality by donating equipment or money to our Computer lab appeal.
Since its inception in April 2016 the Computers For Malawian Schools (CFMS) IT Training Centre has proved invaluable to local schools and the wider community in Malawi. The Centre is in Blantyre, the country's second largest city, and offers basic IT training as well as helping to provide IT facilities to local residents.
Since April 2017 53 students have registered for classes following the Malawi national curriculum with the aim to write MANEB examinations. In addition there are walk in students who come to learn basic computer skills and Microsoft Office. The centre gives access to computers to a range of ages the youngest being 12 years old and the oldest being 63 years old!
Sabina our local programme manager comments that "A lot of people are longing to have ICT expertise bearing in mind that every office job requires computer knowledge".
In the next six months we will be extending the IT training centre to accommodate an even greater numbers of students.
In February this year we donated laptops to the Kambia Appeal and the Network for Rural Development (NRD - SL) for their computer training lab project; benefiting schools and the wider community in the district of Kambia, Sierra Leone. The objective of the computer lab is to empower young people, rural women and children to access basic and advanced computer training skills with the future aim of sustainable livelihoods.
The computer training covers Windows, Excel, Word, Access, Publisher, PowerPoint and Internet Explorer. For the more advanced learners the understanding of computer use in a business world is included in the training.
After six months we were delighted to hear that 14 trainers have been trained and 86 school girls and 26 school boys have completed the IT training.
We hope to continue supporting this wonderful and invaluable project in the future.
In Africa IT skills are essential for young people to access better paid jobs. Furthermore, without an IT literate workforce, countries are less able to broaden their economy and access the benefits of the information revolution.
Lack of IT literacy in Africa is also a barrier to further education, with students struggling to complete coursework and dissertations without being able to use computers. Some schools have such limited resources; one computer is shared between ten children, and other schools ask for broken machines just to explain the basic elements of computers to the children.
Over the last decade IT Schools Africa has been Improving education in Africa, working closely with our in-country partners to provide quality education to schools.
We understand the needs of the schools; what the teachers want and importantly how we can help to improve the learning experience for children in Africa.
Our computers have educational software pre-installed, ready for the teachers to use to make their lessons not only informative but also interesting and interactive for the students.
Our e-Learning Centres are helping to give access to ICT education to more students than ever before. These projects are transforming IT Education for the students, increasing the number of children taking exams in the subject and improving the teaching of other subjects. We now have 15 Centres in Malawi and Zambia, you can read more about them here.
We plan to further improve education in Africa through the development of projects to provide access to IT for vulnerable communities; for young, unemployed adults or adults that perhaps didn't get the chance to go to school.