We are very excited to announce that Mzuzu University (Mzuni), Northern Educational Division (NED), and FAIR have signed a Memorandum of Understanding about the current and future activities to provide sustainable ICT centres for secondary school education in Malawi.
The MOU has been planned since February 2013, through a number of physical meetings, and not least through online collaboration by email, chat, and Google Docs.
The project is very mutual: FAIR wants to promote ICT in education, and so does Mzuni and NED. Furthermore, the project is not a typical computer aid project: All the partners are aware of their individual responsibility to make the project sustainable, and this includes the schools themselves.
Mzuzu University will provide introductory workshops and a teacher training and certification programme. Not least, the university will initiate a project unit that will provide daily support by appointment of a technician and enrolment of student volunteers. As of now, the project unit is fully functional, having already set up 7 ICT centres with travelling volunteers from FAIR.
NED, a body of the Malawi Ministry of Science Education and Technology, will oversee the responsibility of the schools to meet the requirements to run the ICT centres.
FAIR has pledged its continued support for the project, including the provision of necessary hardware spare parts to ensure the sustainability of the project in terms of hardware.
Apart from setting up 8 secondary school centres, the project has also provided 2 ICT centres at the university campus – one centre for the activities of the ICT Department, who provide both university education in computer science and teach computer basics, a mandatory course for all students of the university. The other centre is for general student access, and will feature both offline access to larger information resources such as Wikipedia, and limited online access as allowed by the current state of internet bandwidth at the campus.
So far, 244 computers have been installed and more than 2 km of LAN cable laid out. There are still 3 more secondary school centres left to setup, and the task has been fully handed over to members of staff at Mzuni's ICT Department as well as the skilful and hard-working student volunteers who have provided vital efforts in making the first 7 centres a reality.
As we make our way back to Denmark, we will continue to blog about the individual centres. Internet connectivity has been sparse, and our working days have been long.
Benjamin and Andreas, Lilongwe