Support Basic Computer Skills Training for Teachers in Rural Schools

Activity/project background

Partner: Mantlole Primary School (Government)

The Mpumalanga Department of Education in South Africa is encouraging teachers to utilize technology in their classrooms, where possible, to support students. However, the teachers have not been provided sufficient training and are hesitant to use computers or tablets, when available, within the teaching context. It is evident that before this can happen, teachers need to become accustomed with the basic elements of computer skills, which the supervisor and principal have identified. Peace Corps South Africa currently has a 2-year Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) serving in this school and has offered to support in organizing the meetings for teachers to receive this training and facilitate the process in offering virtual support for the teachers.

The Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) will collaborate with 5-10 teachers at a primary school (Grades R-7) varying in subject experience. Mantlole Primary School seeks the support of a VSPP to ascertain the abilities of the teachers through collaboration with the PCV to ensure that effective training is provided, starting with the basics of the Microsoft Suite. The school will identify two staff members who display the most confidence to act as champions facilitating the knowledge and skills, they learnt in the activity, to their colleagues and the greater community, when requested to do so, the VSPP will ensure that these champions are fully equipped as future trainers.

The organization has previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer. They understand that the role of a VSPP is very different than a two-year Volunteer.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:
• Provide an assessment of basic understanding of digital literacy with delegates
• Introduce digital literacy and support the understanding of its importance in society today with specific reference in the education context
• Co-train teachers to use the basic skills on the Microsoft Office Suite (PowerPoint, Word, and Excel)
• Co-train teachers to use Google Suite

This engagement is expected to be approximately 20 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week.

Meetings between VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts will take place between 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. South African time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to WhatsApp, Zoom, and Teams for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s degree in any field

Experience: Demonstrated use of Microsoft and/or Google suites

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually

Desired qualifications

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Experience: Experience training teachers in computer skills

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement-specific safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.

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