W-GDP Primary School Solar Computer Lab

  • Women's Global Development & Prosperity
  • Education
  • Women & Gender
  • Vanuatu
This project is led by Colton Dabrowski, a Volunteer from Minnesota

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The local Primary School is a large elementary school in Vanuatu. Students come from over half a dozen villages, walking between 5-minutes to over an hour each way. The school currently has nearly 200 students enrolled, and that number is expected to rise in the near future. As part of the Ministry of Educations effort to maximize funding efficiency, the Primary School prepares to become a boarding school as small nearby schools are closing down. Computers are constantly becoming more and more intertwined with daily life, but many in Vanuatu have neither access to computers nor the knowledge to use them. This project will provide the school’s library with 20 laptops and a solar-powered battery system that will be able to charge the laptops and power the school’s printer. There are 9 teachers at the school, 7 of them are females and the 2 male teachers include the principal and librarian. The female teachers have discussed their need for computers and are well aware of and excited about the benefits that the new technology brings. They will be able to learn new skills such as operating a laptop computer, learn the basics of Excel, MS Word, Publisher and the internet where they will gain access to online resources. With the new technology, Teachers would be more efficient in their work. They will co-plan and create lessons, type handouts and tests, easily make edits and improvements, record student grades, be able to design and create student report cards and certificates for presentation. Teachers will have easier access to printing resources for their students, cutting down time spent in the classroom copying from the black board. These 7 female teachers will gain increased confidence as their computer skills improve and will prosper in the workforce and their knowledge and skills will trickle onto their families and other members of the community. Computer Training for the 7 teachers will be designed by the Volunteer and librarian.

The communities around the school are all incredibly involved with different aspects of their students’ education and the upkeep of the school facilities. Parents help in various ways, such as planting and taking care of flowers, shrubs, and trees; supplying local resources for the construction and maintenance of school buildings (ie, sewing thatch, cutting bamboo, and weaving bamboo). This project has been a topic of discussion within the school council for many years, but the cost has held them back from making progress. The school plans to set up a library committee to work with the Peace Corps Volunteer and librarian to establish plans for library management. The school has an operating budget that can meet paper costs and printer needs. Monthly school fundraisers will happen and a portion will go towards library upkeep. This project will continue to be sustainable for many years to come by implementing and adhering to strict usage rules and code of conduct. The laptops will only be used by the teachers. The librarian or assistant will make sure that the laptops are handled respectfully and used properly. No content will be allowed to be downloaded or installed on the laptops without the approval of the librarian trained by the Peace Corps Volunteer. This will make sure to preserve the condition of both internal and external components of the laptops. The monetary sustainability will come from two primary sources: the school budget and fundraisers in the community. The school council will create a new budget outline that includes the librarian’s salary and a budget for library maintenance expenses. To help offset those costs to the school, the library will also charge fees to community members if they want to make photocopies. The Principal and Librarian will be monitoring the use of Laptops and have regular meetings with teachers to see how effective they have become in terms of producing well planned lessons and achieving better grades for students.

Community Contributions
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