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Nam rural schools go global

by Honorine Kaze


This second time around, technologically-handicapped schools are the beneficiaries of the Connecting Classrooms 2012 project initiated by the British Council.
Connecting Classrooms is a global programme that creates partnership amongst a cluster of schools in the regions and around the world.
They offer collaborative projects for learners; professional development for school leaders and cluster co-ordinators.
The beneficiary schools of Connecting Classrooms are Moses Garoeb Primary from Hakahana constituency; Nossob Primary School from Omaheke Region and Novak Primary School from Karas Region.
According to Dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo, country director of British Council Namibia, “The Connecting Classrooms project is a three-year programme that aims to extend, depending on the available funding. The project’s intention is to build continuous friendship, contact and co-operation amongst the three chosen schools.”
With the project scheduled to start in April, it is expected that by the end of the three years, the three Namibian schools should have been connected to nine more schools, making it a total of 12 connected classrooms.
The other schools should be three different schools from Africa linked up to six others from the United Kingdom (UK), which is where the project emanated.
The principals of the chosen schools are excited about the opportunity given to their schools considering that their schools are not some of the most technologically-advanced and are considered some of the disadvantaged schools.
“We stand to benefit a great deal from the project as it gives us an opportunity to be open to a global world and into learning diverse global cultures. Connecting to the other two Namibian schools make us sister schools. In addition, being connected to schools in the UK will give us an opportunity to ask for books from UK as we need them here.
Due to lack of books and a reading culture, we are looking into taking advantage of this opportunity, in order to bring books for the students,” said Ms Kondjara Angela, principal of Moses Garoeb Primary School.
Her feelings were echoed by Ernst Swartbooi, principal of Novak Primary School who was just as excited as his learners about the project.
“The project will help us know each other better. We are from the rural area, so our learners hardly travel outside town. Therefore, being able to be connected to local schools alongside international ones is an open window for the school. The only problem is that we are not much of a computer literate school; although we are working on educating the school teachers,” Swartbooi pointed out.
However, in order for the project to work out, a computer facility is a must, which seems to be lacking in those schools chosen in the project.
Nevertheless, the  British Council director  said, “Choosing the under privileged schools was a way of developing them as well as helping them upgrade their schools with computer facilities so as to prepare them for the future.  There are already three co-ordinators undergoing training on how to co-ordinate the activities amongst the three schools.”
She added there are four leadership training workshops scheduled to be conducted through Namibia English Teachers Association, targeting all 13 regions. The workshops are meant to empower the school leaders about the advantages of being part of the school programme.
Connecting Classrooms was reinitiated for the second time this year, after having been launched in 2006 with the name Welwitschia Partnership.
The first schools to participate in the first project were Khomas High School, Augeikhas Primary School and Ella Du Plessis High School for Namibia. They were connected to Lalibella School from Ethiopia, Gordon Primary School and Rhynie Primary School, both from the UK.
The Connecting Classrooms initiative allows children from around the world to create links and learn from each other. The project involves various African countries linked to schools in the UK.