‘Little things, big difference’ is the phrase that welcomed me on my visit to Chibavi Community Day Secondary School. The headmaster Mr Lungu awaited my arrival outside his office. He greeted me by saying that it was nice that we have visited them at their school because the four laptops that their school received from the Malaptop Project are making a big difference in their school.
The impact the laptops are making in the lives of students is long term
Chibavi CDSS is located in Chibavi Township in Mzuzu City, with an enrolment of 465 Children. The school is one of the three schools in Malawi that have received laptops from the Malaptop Project so far. The school received four laptops earlier this year and will get three more later this year. The four laptops that the school received are making a big difference for the whole school for both teachers and students.
When the school received the computers it started offering the Computer Studies subject for form three students. It is anticipated that these students will sit for their Malawi School Certificate Examinations in computer studies next year.
The visit to the school also enabled me to conduct focus group discussions with students and teachers to monitor and evaluate the progress of the Malaptop Project. Discussions with students to seek their views on the computers shows that they are happy that their school benefitted from the Malaptop Project. Students reported that the laptops have enabled them to start learning computer studies subject. ‘Honestly computer studies is fascinating and availability of the laptops is helping us to practice while we are learning’ said Bertha Nkhoma, a form 3 student at Chibavi CDSS.
The computers have also benefited teachers as they are now able to plan their schemes of work and lessons using the laptops. Teachers also testified that in the past they used to hire an external person to type and print both mid-term and end of term examinations which was very expensive for the school. However with the four laptops they have received from Malaptop Project, the school bought a printer and a duplicating machine to so that they can type and print the examinations on their own. ‘During examinations, teachers are simply given the laptops to type the exams on their own and the examinations committee simply prints them and duplicates them. This has proven to be very cheap and also ensures that the exams are done timely and also reduces the risk of leaking the examinations as processing of examinations is done locally’ said Mr. Lungu, the Headteacher. Students also reported that the computers have helped them to write exams timely as planned. ‘In the past our examination’s time table would be changed and we would have delays in writing our examinations because the exams were printed by externals. This is all history because of the availability of Computers’ said Harris Gama.
The visit to the school was also beneficial to the teachers because I took them through the Lubuntu operating system and discussed the educational materials that are saved in the computers. This training supports the teachers and ensures that they can use the laptops effectively in delivering lessons to students. Although they requiring special training in Lubuntu OS they were confident in operating the machines. The teachers appreciated the small training as it helped them better understand the education materials in the computer such as akvo, hyperion and Khan Academy and how they can deliver such materials.
they can type and print the examinations on their own
The Centre for Youth and Development is expecting another shipment of 76 laptops. Chibavi CDSS will get 3 additional laptops. It is my sincere hope that the laptops will further help the school to effectively deliver computer education. At the end of my visit I appreciated the difference the Malaptop project is making in the school and agreed with the Headteacher that indeed little things are making a big difference.
To see more picture of the pupils and teachers with the laptops visit our previous post