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Transcript of 2020 Conference
Education is the best way out of poverty
Text 1 - Aim: Building educational partnerships
My name is James Addlestone. I was a member of the 2009 tour of Malawi. I am Oliver Iles and I went on the 2011 tour. I am Charlotte Martin and this is Caris Iles. We are part of the team going to Malawi next year charged with continuing the legacy left by the previous 11 tours.
Our partnership with Kamuzu Academy, a flag ship school in Malawi, started in 1988. The partnership has grown from a simple pen pal relationship to biennual visits, exchanges of staff and joint curriculum development. We are involved in many other projects with hospitals, feeding centres and orphanages but we feel the curriculum based partnerships with schools are the most effective and rewarding for all concerned. These partnerships aim to enrich the education of all stakeholders, both here and in Malawi.
Text 2 – In the beginning
Our two schools are quite similar, housed in extensive grounds with wide ranging facilities. Let us take the 5000 mile trip from the Grammar School at Leeds to Kamuzu Academy in the Kasungu district of Malawi.
Visual No. 1 – Google earth close-up of GSAL moving to close-up of Kamuzu Academy
LS17 8GS to 13degrees 01’49.48”S 33 degrees 41’ 12.06” E
Text 3 – The challenge
Even from this overview we can see the Academy’s extensive buildings, athletics track, swimming pool and its very own 9 hole golf course. However, not 5 miles away there existed an entirely different school, Chamalaza Primary.
Visual No. 2 – slide of grass classrooms
This school consisted of four grass huts with poles for seating and a single blackboard. When it rained classes had to be abandoned.
Visual No. 3 – slide of interior of classrooms
Despite the lack of resources the children are eager to learn as they know that the best way out of poverty is to gain an education. Paid employment is rare in a country where 90% of the 15 million population are subsistence farmers and over 6 million live below the poverty line existing on less than $2 per day.
Visual No. 4 – pupils in classroom
After consultations with the village headman, village elders and the primary school headmaster we formed a partnership with the village. They would provide the labour, build the bricks and supply the river sand. We would supply the cement, wood, skilled labour and roofing materials.
Visual No. 5 – digging clay for bricks
Visual No. 6 – bricks
Visual No. 7 – work in progress
After three years the end result was a school with eight brick-built classrooms, a staff room, a library full of books and a very happy group of staff and pupils.
During our biennial visits GSAL pupils paint appropriate parts of the Malawi curriculum on the walls as permanent visual aids.
Visual No. 8 – Classroom painting
When the Deputy Head Mr Moyo was transferred over the valley to Mbonekera Primary School we continued the education project at his new school by helping to build a further 5 classrooms, a staffroom and a library.
Visual No. 9 – Library and pupils
Text 8 – Using technology
At this point the project took on a new dimension by incorporating adult education. The new classrooms and library were a resource that could only be used during the day as Ngolokoto village does not have access to electricity. Last year, after consultation with the elders of the village, we installed solar lighting in two classrooms and a facility to recharge mobile phones. Now the school can run adult literacy classes as well as extra revision classes during exam periods.
Visual No. 9 – solar panel
Visual No. 10 – solar lights in classroom
At the Grammar School at Leeds we have developed the use of GIS (Geographical Information System) - a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data. In Key Stage 2 of the UK National Curriculum pupils are required to perform a comparative village survey, comparing their own location with one abroad. Most schools choose Chembakolli village in India because all the resources are readily available through ActionAid. Our aim is to provide an African alternative by gathering data about Ngolokoto village through our partnership with Kamuzu Academy and Mbonekera Prmary School.
Visual No. 11 – using hand held GPS receivers
Using hand held GPS receivers we have mapped the entire village over the period 2009 to 2011. This involves taking readings at the corner of every house and building together with a photo and a survey of the family living there. This data is then downloaded and used to design a map of the village and the surrounding area.
Work is at a preliminary stage but we have some initial results.
This slide shows all of the readings taken in 2011
Visual No. 12 – tracking map
Which then translates into a map.
Visual No. 13 – outline map
These readings were taken in 2010 and 2011. If we superimpose them onto Google earth map produced in 2007 we can see that the village has grown and extended the housing along the main road.
Visual No. 14 – outline map superimposed on google map
Year 4 pupils can now interact with the map, select a house and click to produce a picture of the house and its occupants. Further layers will reveal details of the family, how they make a living, the crops they grow etc. etc.
This will be made available as a DVD and a web-site so that other Junior schools can learn about life in rural Malawi. Already we have a pilot school in Leeds helping to design resources and worksheets to mirror those available for the village in India.
Visual No. 15 – picture of house
As stated previously this partnership is a two way process. As well as creating a DVD about Ngolokoto for UK pupils we are also producing one about the North Yorkshire village of Clapham which will allow pupils in Malawi to see and better understand village life in the UK.
For Mbonekera Primary we are investigating the use of wind-up and solar charged laptops to create a mini-computer lab. There are endless ways to use technology to improve and expand educational opportunities – it all depends on the energy, the willingness and the determination of our generation to make a difference.
Text 14 - Results so far
The two schools, Chamalaza and Mbonekera have seen a four-fold increase in pupil numbers. The schools have been able to attract 10 more teachers and a regular supply of overseas volunteers. Pupil attendance has improved significantly and exam success has resulted in record numbers going on to secondary education.
Aim: Building educational partnerships
In the beginning...
(cc) image by nuonsolarteam on Flickr