Solar Energy Fuels Computers in Remote Schools in Northeastern Kenya
Bour-Algy primary school is located roughly 9 km south of Garissa, in Kenya’s arid northeast. The school serves the children of nomadic pastoralists and subsistence farmers, who make their living along the nearby Tana River. Through the innovative Accelerating a 21st Century Education (ACE) component of the TEPD program, Bour-Algy school received solar equipment that is providing a reliable power source for computer hardware and lighting for the equipment storage room, two classrooms, and security.
Mwijabu Primary School in Mombasa is also one of the schools; through the implementation of the ICT component has seen increased growth in school registration and improved performance. “Students know how to use computers as well as access the server,” says Ms. Janet Moraya. “With the integration of ICT in other lessons has motivated students and also capture their interest. This has become possible because learners can now see things they would have otherwise not been able to see and this helps them memorize and comprehend better. Improved student performance is proof that learning has become better, easier and more interesting”.
In both primary schools, teachers are impressed by their students who no longer miss school like before and are enthusiastic about coming to school because of the computers. “There is also a huge turnout of students in the evenings and over the weekend,” says Ms. Moraya. “The like school now, the ICT component has made school interesting for them.”
According to Mohamed Ahmed Affey, Headteacher at Bour-Algy primary school, local parents never dreamed that their children would have the opportunity to learn computer and technology skills. The parents are so excited about the development, that they have taken it upon themselves to provide security for the new technology at the school, clearing overgrown bushes in the compound and taking turns supplementing the security being provided by the school. “It is rare to see the local people come together as a community the way they have to improve and secure the school.” said Mr. Affey
An innovative partnership involving Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, USAID, and the Government of Kenya called Accelerating a 21st Century Education (ACE), is bringing information and communications technology and training to improve teaching and learning. Bour-Algy and Mwijabu primary schools are two of the 26 schools that use ICT due to support from the USG.