As the world moves to a more digital space, some children may be disadvantaged due to lack of resources and digital skills. This was once the case at Mathari Primary School where students only heard about computers but had never seen them.
Mathari Primary school, located in Mathare, has been in existence for more than 20 years and currently hosts about 1000 learners. “The learners never thought they could ever have a computer in their school. Now they can even operate them, draw, research, play games and perform basic maintenance of the computers,” Mr. James Kigo, Deputy Headteacher, Mathari Primary School says with a wide grin.
In 2019, PACEmaker International (PACE) donated 10 computers to the school computer library with the aim of improving the quality of education for learners through computer literacy. In collaboration with Camara Education, PACE trained Mr. Osiemo, one of the teachers who would take charge of the computer lessons in the school and management of the computers. “Thanks to the training I received on ICT Integration, we are now able to incorporate the use of a projector, the laptop and tablets in the overall teaching of learners,” Mr. Osiemo, the school’s computer teacher says.
PACE also identified a group of 10 students named “computer heroes” who were trained on proper computer usage. The computer heroes in turn trained other students in the school. Mr. Osiemo recalls, “Majority of the learners developed great interest and curiosity in the use of the computers. It even encouraged learners who were truants before to attend school throughout the term.”
In addition, PACE renovated the computer library creating a more conducive environment for learners. Mr. Kigo mentions, “PACE gave the computer library a facelift and made shelves that offer support to our computers when learning.”
So far, over 300 pupils have beneffited from these computer lessons. 1 computer serves at least 5 students and because of the high population they at times go to the computer library in controlled batches for learning to be effective. The computers have been instrumental in improving the learners’ digital skills as well as the overall academic school performance. They are able to access educative programmes containing relevant information such as the elementary encyclopedia and the dictionary. With this, they can read ahead of the teacher and add onto the knowledge acquired in class. Accessing the computers has led to their academic improvement as Mr. Kigo explains, “There was a time we were getting mean scores below 190 but now we are at 225 and will definitely improve over time because the learners can now conduct further research. Secondly, are now more enthusiastic about learning because computers are involved.”
Computers are an important tool in the integration of ICT and the new Competency Based Curriculum (CBC). CBC is student-centered thus ICT will make learning more exciting and livelier. Learners will also be more exposed as they can interact with content from all over the world due to internet access. Teaching and learning will be easier as learners can maximize on online research tools.
“I am grateful to PACE for all the assistance they have accorded us. It is impressive how they are firm and assertive on their objectives,” Mr.Kigo mentions.
Although Mathare Primary School has taken a step forward towards improving computer literacy, they still have other limitations that may hinder them from exhibiting their full potential in academics. The school is in need of:
- More storybooks to cater to the large school population and improve child learning outcomes.
- Mentors and speakers who can motivate parents to be more engaged in the lives and education of their children.
- Furniture to ensure students are comfortable and maximize learning during their computer lessons.
Thank you to all our partners who have walked with us to improve the quality of education for children in underserved communities. You can also support this noble cause to make a difference in the lives of more children through education.