Category : News
We are super excited that Canonical have released Ubuntu 20.10 for the Raspberry Pi. As followers will know, we have been using Raspberry Pi computers in remote schools in Southern Zambia for over 5 years as a low power, cost effective and very efficient solution.
Well now we can run the full-fat Ubuntu on the Raspberry Pi 4 (4GB and 8GB versions).
Every little helps us help rural schools in Zambia
We’re using COVID lockdown to hold twice weekly Zoom training sessions with Zambian teachers interested in learning Python and Scratch in order to teach coding to their pupils. It’s going well so far in spite of some technical problems- thanks to Howard sending support and practise materials and thanks teachers for hanging in there.
Schools in Zambia have now welcomed back all pupils and are trying to take as many precautions as they can against COVID 19.
Thanks to some generous individual donors, we have sent fifteen schools non-contact digital thermometers to test temperatures before letting students into school.
The non contact digital thermometers for schools in Zambia have arrived at last. Generous donations from individuals enabled us to buy 15 of them for our solar schools to make coming to school a safer experience for teachers and children.
The Education department picked them up and has begun the task of distributing to schools. Siavonga Basic School were the first recipients.
To support Bbakasa School in this time of pandemic, we sent a non-contact digital thermometer so that teachers could identify and send home anyone who turned up for school with a high temperature. They are finding it so useful, that we have started raising money to provide at least 14 more of these. Each thermometer costs £30 but every pound donated will be used to help remote African schools.
We’ve come a long way since our first visit to Zambia in 2015.
Here is a flavour of what we’ve achieved to date.
We have installed solar power in 14 schools in Siavonga District and 3 schools in Monze District. This enables them for the first time to have lighting and the infrastructure for computers.
We have supplied the learning resources of RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) to 5 schools with mains power via a Synology NAS server.
But our main focus has been the Raspberry Pi. It acts as a wifi hotspot and does not need mains power. We have used this as a server supplying RACHEL. 80 schools are now regularly using this resource for teaching and learning.
A fundamental part of our project is the training of teachers. On each visit we run courses on solar power, the use of RACHEL off-line learning resources, networking and general computer maintenance, and office applications. To date, in the three districts we visit, a total of 157 teachers from 61 schools have attended one or more of these sessions.
In addition to this, thanks to large donations of equipment we have sent out 128 PCs, 79 monitors, and 160 laptops. These were distributed by the local District Education Board Secretaries.
We have also been able to provide training in beekeeping delivered by a trainer from Monze, along with two beehives per school for those who attended. Some of them have been able to start selling jars of honey.
We’re keeping busy during COVID-19 lockdown preparing and delivering training materials. Through the use of Zoom we are able to connect with some of our Zambian colleagues to share the latest news from Zambia and Wales. We can demonstrate how to use various packages by using the Share screen facility.
While Bridget is completing the cabling at Bbakasa school, Howard is on hand on WhatsApp to answer any queries she may have.
Meanwhile I’m busy applying for grants to enhance our support to all the rural solar schools by supplying them with routers and internet bundles so that we can train groups of teachers directly.
That’s as well as using Zoom to share our expertise with Dolen Cymru; and to join in with a meeting on e-learning next Friday organised by Hub Cymru Africa.