We work with others to help as many people as possible.
Malawi Ministry of Education
EuroTalk have a target of introducing our interactive video lessons to all 5300 primary schools in Malawi. An initail trial with 10 primary schools in 2006 was followed by an expanded trial of 50 schools in 2007.
Phase 1 of the Pilot Project was from July 2006 until December 2006. The Ministry for Education and Vocational Training selected ten schools across Malawi as trial sites. In July 2006 Ministry officials travelled with two EuroTalk representatives to 7 of the 10 schools where the following types of equipment were installed:
- Portable DVD players
- Apple computer
- Handheld devices
In two schools without electricity the following power generating solutions were installed:
- Solar panel connected to foot pump generator
- Foot pump generator on its own, charged only by foot-pumping
- Handheld charger with batteries to power the handheld device
Each school was given several sets of lessons in Chichewa and English. The lessons have been developed in English by EuroTalk and have been evaluated, translated and recorded by the Ministry. All lessons are interactive and outcome-based. The lessons cover various curriculum subject areas; they are suitable for Primary School children and for use within the Community. During the Pilot Projects the lessons will be used by Standard 3 and Standard 4 pupils. In the main trial site in the town of Dezda a container converted into classroom was installed. The container is equipped with the same material as the classrooms and provides an additional learning environment for the school. The following material was also delivered and installed in each school:
- Star stickers to reward children for achieving full marks in each quiz
- Score cards
- Pens and Pencils
- Instruction sheets
- Record keeping notebooks
- Evaluation and feedback forms
Furthermore, EuroTalk left with the Ministry officials enough equipment and material to set up the 3 remaining sites, which we were not able to visit during the set up period. We are confident that the 3 additional sites are now fully functioning.
The current trial has had three objectives:
- To test the content of the lessons in Chichewa. To establish if this intervention creates positive outcomes. To assess if children, teachers, parents value the learning experience and gain education, knowledge and skills from the lessons. To determine appropriate lesson content for Phase 2.
- To establish which of the current hardware solutions are most suitable in the different environments in Malawi. This needs to take into account ways of generating power, maintenance, robustness, longevity and many other aspects of the hardware and software.
- To establish on completion of Phase 1 of the Pilot Project if the Ministry for Education and Vocational Training wished to continue to Phase 2 of the Project, for which we suggest expanding to 50 schools.
EuroTalk believes, and even more so after the initial installation and training phase, that technology solutions can greatly enhance and support the learning experience of users also in rural communities. Furthermore the cost of technology is constantly decreasing, thus making this initiative scalable. This Pilot Project represents an invaluable learning experience. We anticipate that the progress report will highlight important issues, which EuroTalk will want to address including the proposal of alternative solutions as and when appropriate.
Monitoring and Evaluation
In order to meet the three objectives listed above a suitable monitoring and evaluation process was put in place:
- A baseline study to be carried out to establish the level of knowledge / attendance / performance of the learners
- Data collected to establish how many pupils used the lessons, how many times, if there is an increase pattern in the success rate etc.
- Data collected to establish performance of the different types of hardware solutions and issues related to them, including the type of energy supply
- Data collected to establish if the initiative is valued by teachers, pupils, parents, the community and why
- Data collected to establish what positive outcomes have been achieved through this initiative
The EuroTalk representatives and Ministry officials spent time at each site setting up the equipment, testing it, training teachers on how to use the technology and discussing the objectives of the project with headmasters and teachers. Everyone showed great interest and commitment in the project. All teachers had the chance to try using the equipment so that they can easily empathise with the children when they go through the experience of using this technology for the first time.
All teachers were extremely responsive and were able within minutes to use the equipment correctly and independently. Additional troubleshooting material for each school was supplied to help overcome issues that emerged during the installation and testing phase.
After the success of Phase 1, which will begin in September 2007, the Minister for Education and Vocational Training of Malawi asked to help scale up the project to a Phase 2 covering 50 schools with the objective to carry out further evaluation and roll out nationwide (5000 + schools ). The cost of technology is constantly decreasing making it now virtually comparable with traditional resources such as books. For example, a portable device is £30 and a small solar panel that can generate enough energy to power it is available at £2.00. Each device can be shared by 4-6 children, bringing the cost per child to around the £5-6 mark. Further content for higher grades can be added simply by replacing the memory card in the portable devices. The cost of memory is about £6-7 for each gigabyte per device. 45-50 lessons in the local language can be stored on one gigabyte. With economies of scale these costs can be lowered further.
|Number of Schools:||50 schools|
|Split:||30 without electricity – 20 with electricity|
|Number of Devices:||10 handheld devices or mobile phones per school = 500 devices
1 computer in each of the 20 schools with electricity
520 devices in total
|Number of Lessons:||Handhelds: 40 in English and 40 lessons in Chichewa = 80 lessons per 500 devices = 40,000 lessons in total|
|Computer:||Entire EuroTalk library on the computers|
|Power supply:||Small solar panels = 1 per device
Large solar panels connected to a battery, to charge 6-8 devices.
Thare Machi Education"Cutting edge technology for people at the sharp end of poverty"
Thare Machi - the Starfish Initiative is an innovative project run by a small team with ambitious aims. Using EuroTalk's multimedia expertise the project provides basic life skills information via interactive DVD technology to some of the developing world's most vulnerable and marginalised people.
The success of the project is due to the strong links forged with local partner groups on the ground. Ranging from street children's centres to an HIV NGO and a group of Catholic nuns, these partner groups feed into the educational content of the lessons and implement their use within the community.
So far the project has established successful partnerships in India, South Africa, Cambodia and Malawi. The basic life skills messages are aimed primarily at women and children who have had little or no formal education.
To overcome the barrier of illiteracy the lessons are in the user's own language, and regular questions interspersed throughout the lesson test the user's understanding of what they've learnt, whilst also providing a fun, interactive element.
The list of proposed lessons now runs to over 250 titles spread across subject areas which include health, sanitation, agriculture, water supply, livelihoods, income generation, human rights and self esteem.