On our trip to Zambia last month, we began to assess some schools for our Zambia eClasses project. We visited a number of secondary schools selected by in-country partner SchoolNet Zambia in collaboration with the ministry of education.
As with all of our projects, we visit to make sure the schools included will be able to host an ICT lab and to ensure the project will have the highest impact possible.
We do this by getting an Understanding of the schools current infrastructure and capacity to sustainably host a computer lab. This can be dependent on electricity access, availability of a secure room to be converted into a computer lab and a range of other factors.
We also ensure that staff are keen to incorporate ICT into teaching and learning. We have found in their projects that the enthusiasm needs to come from the staff as well as students to achieve the best results from the classes. We also conduct development-led checks to make sure schools don't already have computer labs and that this is a real need for the school.
We sit down with the schools principal to understand challenges at the schools and how the ICT could assist, and interview teachers who would undertake ICT training as part of the project, to understand what the previous usage of computers they've had and what they expect from the ICT training.Finally, we leave student surveys, for students to complete. This helps us to gain an understanding of what previous access and usage students have had with computers.
We know how important it is to create sustainability in our projects, and the need for in-country partners who can assist with technical issues, so we are developing the project with longevity at the heart of it.