1 Net4kids PROJECT: IT EDUCATION THE GAMBIA (P ) PROGRESS REPORT By: ICT4schools, Ruud Bredewold, March 2008 A. General information A1. In the press As appendix A a newspaper article is included that has been published in a local newspaper in Zwolle. It is titled: Landstede en ICT4Schools ontwikkelen cursuspakketten voor Gambia. It deals with the partnership that has been established for the development of the curricula as described in the project document titled: IT Education in the Gambia; Employment for Youth through Skills Centres and NICE Cafés. ROC Landstede is a vocational school that provides education in a wide range of subjects including secretarial education, IT education, education for jobs in the administrative and tourism sector, even in education. The educational material that is being developed was tested by ICT4Schools in cooperation with CCF and NICE in December The lesson material was presented to the trainers from the NICE café s. NICE is the partner in this program that provides the IT infrastructure and the IT trainers. The Christian Children Fund (CCF) took part with a teacher and a class of 12 secretarial students. These students were introduced to the material and carried out a complete task. All the remarks by the trainers and the students were transferred to the development team. The following pictures were taken during the introduction to these 12 secretarial students. The tasks were introduced by NICE educational manager Mr Sulayman Badjie. A2. Pictures Secretarial skills try-out. The pictures presented here were taken inside the NICE internet café in Brikama, The Gambia in the first week of December 2007 during the try-out of the secretarial skills curriculum. The teacher is Mr Sulayman Badjie. He is education officer of NICE Gambia Ltd. The 12 students present were attending the CCF secretarial studies. Their teacher Albert was present as well. These students have never actually worked on a computer before, but had some typing practise on the typing machines.
2 B. Activities Preparation. In February 2007 an inventory visit was made by Annet van de Laak (Better Future) and Ruud Bredewold (ICT4Schools). The ambition is to develop IT-based lesson material in four areas. So we talked to teachers to determine the necessary IT related teacher skills, to entrepreneurs to determine IT related business skills, to secretaries for IT related secretarial skills and to operational hotel management for IT related hotel skills. Besides this curriculum related activity we had meetings with NICE and CCF-staff on the contract and subsequent procedures concerning the scholarships that are a major part of the project plan. Partnership ROC Landstede. ICT4Schools sought the assistance of an experienced partner in the field of vocational training. This resulted in a contract with ROC Landstede which is a large institute for vocational training in Zwolle, the hometown of ICT4Schools. Subsequently Landstede put together three teams of vocational trainers and an IT-expert, each one based on their specific expertise in the field of secretarial studies, business and hotel skills. The IT-expert was added to translate the curriculum into English and make it OpenOffice specific, so that we can produce higher quality material in a faster production process. Every fortnight the process is monitored to make sure the developed material is up to standards. Try-out. At the end of November the secretarial team finished the first 10 assignments in such a way that we could do a full fletched try-out in The Gambia. I took the finished assignments and presented them in three rounds and exposed in to different target groups. In the first round I explained to the Educational Manager from the NICE internet café's the whole concept in detail and we worked through each assignment. A lot of valuable remarks were made. In the second round Mr Badjie and myself introduced the concept to the group of IT teachers of the NICE café's and their team leaders. They are supposed to teach this applied course in the future. In the third round Mr Badjie introduced the concept to a group of 12 secretarial students and their teacher. I have included some pictures of this session. Progress so far. The course for secretarial IT skills is finished. The material is in production. The next step will be to make the lesson material available to the teachers. A training in didactics and methodology is part of the implementation visit. D. Results Quantification. The aim was to develop 4 applied IT courses. At this moment 1 (Secretarial IT Skills) of these is finished and 2 (Business IT skills and Hotel IT Skills) are well on their way. Hotel skills is for 60% and Business IT skills is 40% finished. Secreterial skills will be implemented in the 2 nd week of April The others will be available in May The fourth course (Teacher IT Skills) is not subcontracted yet. Objectives. The project consists of two parts. A curriculum development part and a part in which the funding of scholarship for participating students is arranged. In this report I will elaborate on the curriculum development. The scholarship is an arrangement between Net4Kids and CCF with Better future s Annet van de Laak as an intermediate. The curriculum under development must fit The Gambia African context and IT wise should prepare the students for an active role in society. Types of IT courses IT courses more often than not are courses meant to systematically master IT skills related to mastering Office applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, databases and applications to gather information by browsing and searching the internet using search engines and communication applications such as instant messaging and . For arguments sake let's call these 'Basic IT courses'. Sometimes a job requires to learn a specific application. For instance an architect might use
3 AutoCAD, a designer uses Photoshop and an accountant uses Quicken. These are all very expensive applications that are used by professionals. Courses that aim to teach such an application we call 'Special IT courses'. This project is not meant to develop these specialised courses though if time and budget allows it is wise to make a contextualised version of these courses. To really master IT skills they should be embedded in a vocational training using a personalised context the student can relate to because it will be his or her (future) job. In other words these courses are 'Applied IT courses'. The CCF curriculum development project aims to develop applied IT courses for secretarial, hotel / tourism, business and teaching related jobs. To enrol in an applied course it is often useful if not obligatory to have completed one or more basic IT courses. Office. Students that have finished this course are able to perform IT related tasks on the job they are preparing for. The lesson materials are developed to be used independent from a specific office application. If necessary screen shots are used taken from application in the Open Source Office suite available for free from This set of application is also the standard office suite available at the NICE shops. Methodological standards. Educational material for vocational IT courses are courses in which IT specific skills are 'applied' in a vocational context. So for each course we have devised a Gambian example. During the secretarial course for instance the student is the secretarial assistance to Fatima, a private secretary for a Mr Jallow, the principal of a school for higher education. Fatima gives her assistant all kinds of assignments that logically fit this setting. By using familiar Gambian names such as Mr Jallow and Fatima it becomes easier for the student to relate to the job and the IT related work it generates. Each assignment starts with an introduction related to the specific context to sensitize the student for the job ahead. Then an assignment is presented in the form of a letter to be answered or a task to be done such as the sending of in invitation by for a meeting. To complete the task the student is presented with a format such as a standard memo. Most of the assignments provide the student with such a format. At the end of the course the student has gathered a nice 'toolbox' full of formats and examples that can be applied in any new secretarial job. The assignments start easy and become more and more complex during the course. Sometimes a skill is repeated and applied in a different context to make sure they are mastered well. We call this 'concentric learning'. Design standards. The students that are the target group of these courses are very poor. Most of them will not be able to buy a course book. After a student has paid the tuition fee there should be as little additional cost as possible. So the lesson material will be available to the students during the course in the form of plasticised paper. In this way it can be used many times without extra costs for the students. Each module will be recognisable by its own colours. Realisation. Based on the try-out in the first week of December 2007 we can confidently state that the quality objectives are realised due to the expert developers from ROC Landstede. Target group. The course is primarily meant for students from the CCF skill centres. Children and young people that cannot afford an expensive course. Courses are open to both sexes but for the secretarial course we estimate that almost all of the students will be girls from the poor peri-urban areas. Benefit. With the financial help from the scholarships, CCF students can learn how to handle a computer in the context of the specific job they are learning such as a secretary. Future sustainability. It is too early to tell if the course will fit the needs of the students and will actually help them find a job more easily. Based on the first experience in the try-out I think they will. Students will be better equipped for their future jobs. The course material itself can be reproduced easily and is reusable to make it as cost effective as possible. Adaptation and expansion with new
4 modules along the same line is possible. E. Analysis. The curriculum is still in development and will be for the next two months. Overall, the project has countered a delay of over one year. There are various reasons for this delay. After the completion of the inventory visit it took a lot of time to reach the conclusion that a vocational partner would be needed to develop the curriculum. After that, the selection of the right partner and the construction of the development teams took over 4 months. When everything was set to go the summer holidays started. From August to December development took far more time than anticipated because of the quality standards that were developed, implemented and monitored in the first package that let to the try-out in December The development teams for Business IT Skills and Hotel IT Skills started after the autumn break in October and had some difficulties in finding the right people that could finish the job. That's why the secretarial IT course is finished and the others lag behind. The teacher IT course did not even start. The contracts for the first three courses exceeded the budget so we didn't start this team yet. First additional funding is necessary. F. Progress report. The coming months the following activities will be carried out: 1. Production and implementation of the course: ' Secretarial IT Skills', including a train-thetrainer session. March and April Development, production and implementation of the courses: ' Business IT skills' and 'Hotel IT Skills'. Up to June Examination and recognition by NTA. August Evaluation visit. December 2008.
5 Appendix A In the press Zwolle, 2 oktober 2007 Zwolse organisaties actief in Gambia Landstede en ICT4Schools ontwikkelen cursus voor Gambia Zwolle - Bij Landstede aan het Dokterspad wordt hard gewerkt aan het ontwikkelen van een cursus voor secretaresses (Secretary skills) in Gambia. Dit gebeurt in samenwerking met het bedrijf ICT4Schools. Dit bedrijf bedenkt en levert ICT oplossingen voor onderwijsinstellingen in Nederland en in het buitenland. Voor het IT-cursuspakket heeft ICT4Schools samenwerking gezocht met Landstede. De cursus zal worden gegeven in internetcafés in Gambia. De cursus Secretary Skills duurt 12 weken en wordt aangeboden aan de allerarmste bewoners van Gambia. Zij kunnen geen regulier onderwijs betalen, en bezoeken een skills center. Vanuit dit skills center gaan de cursisten vier dagen in de week naar een Internetcafé. Deze internetcafés zijn geopend door de stichting NICE. De tarieven voor de training liggen erg laag. Zo worden de kansen op een baan voor deze groep vergroot. Uitgangspunt is dat IT-toepassingen worden gekoppeld aan specifieke beroepsvaardigheden. In overleg met ICT4schools beschrijft Landstede het vereiste beginniveau; de studenten moeten enige bekendheid hebben met de werking van de computer, een tekstverwerkingsprogramma en met het Internet. Met deze cursus heeft de toekomstige secretaresse voldoende vaardigheden geleerd om waardevol te zijn voor toekomstige werkgevers; bedrijven in Gambia. Streven is dat de eerste trainingen in november van start gaan. Tot november wordt een aantal concept onderdelen getoetst. De eerste opdrachtkaart is bijna gereed; Ruud Bredewold van ICT4Schools gaat namelijk naar Gambia begin oktober en zal de test uit laten voeren. Het ontwikkelen van de cursus Secretary Skills krijgt een vervolg: ook voor de cursussen Business skills en Hotel skills gaan Landstede en ICT4Schools aan de slag. Ook hierbij geldt dat ICT vaardigheden worden gekoppeld aan beroepsvaardigheden. Concentrisch leren De studenten gaan 4 dagen in de week naar school; na een uur instructie wordt een uur uitgetrokken voor zelfstudie. Landstede maakt hiervoor de opdrachtkaarten. De methode gaat uit van het concentrisch leren; opdrachten komen gedurende de cursus terug, maar dan in moeilijker vorm. Internetcafé s als trainingslokaal De cursussen worden gegeven in twee moderne, goed functionerende internetcafés, met de laagste tarieven en de snelste verbinding van Gambia. Het internetcafé doet ook dienst als ontmoetingsplaats voor de lokale bewoners, die er bijvoorbeeld ook graag naar Engels voetbal komen kijken. De Internetcafés in Gambia zie verder pagina 2
6 De Internetcafés in Gambia zijn proeflocaties van het NICE concept, dat ontwikkeld is op initiatief van de Energy4all Foundation. Het NICE concept is een combinatie van een Internet café, een mini cinema en een distributiepunt voor microkredieten en energiediensten. De energie wordt daar geleverd door zonnepanelen. Aansluiting bij de waarden van Landstede Het project sluit goed aan bij de waarden van Landstede, stelt Hans van Halteren, projectleider bij Landstede. Het ontwikkelen van ieders talent, de waarde van de ontmoeting, en het nemen van je verantwoordelijkheid, naar jezelf, en naar anderen zijn leidend bij onze activiteiten. Hij sluit niet uit dat uit het project zal leiden tot andere acties voor Gambia. Bij Landstede is men enthousiast om gebruikte computers te sturen. Ook studenten worden bij het project betrokken. Een leeropdracht voor studenten van de ICT opleidingen is om de computers hardware- en softwarematig verzendklaar te maken voor verscheping. Noot voor de redactie: Voor meer informatie kunt u contact opnemen met Hans van Halteren, Landstede, tel of met Ruud Bredewold, ICT4Schools, tel
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