VSO takes digital learning to Pujehun, Kailanhun Districts

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By Hassan G. Koroma

In their quest to support and digitalise education in that part of the country, Voluntary Service Overseas Organization (VSO),has introduced and launched project Building Foundational Learning through Technology in Pujehun and Kailahun Districts, respectively.

The project is geared towards the introduction of Digital Technology in schools in order to improve early grade learners and aim to cater for 7,000 early learners across 52 schools from classes 1 to 3 in both Pujehun and Kailahun Districts.
During the launching of the project in Pujehun District, over 800 customised tablets were distributed among 24 schools including headsets and the installation of solar panels in each school in order to safely charge the devices at the school’s convenience.

Speaking at the launching, Education Technology Officer for VSO, Emmanuel Fallah Focko, stated that the project started in Malawi and that Sierra Leone is the first country in West Africa to benefit from this project.

He thanked the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education for their support through the process and noted that the tablets were designed in line with the MBSSE school curriculum, and the ministry has guaranteed their support in monitoring and evaluating the project till the end.

He said that all clusters will be closely monitored and assessed which learning outcome best suit the learners and disclosed that VSO intends to provide similar or other projects in other districts and said there organisation focus on three thematic areas including  Education, Health and Livelihood.
Chief Administrator of Pujehun District, Sahr Emmanuel Yambasu, expressed gratitude to VSO organisation and said such initiative is building the future of the learners.

 He commended VSO for preparing the learners for the future,who are the next leaders of the country and called on the parents to own the initiative and make effective use of the project.

He said with time he expects the project to expand which is possible only if the expected outcome is achieved and encouraged teachers to continue being shepherds, as more good projects will come if good care is taken.

 VSO Monitoring and Evaluation officer, Abu Bakarr Senessie, said the introduction of those technology items in schools is meant to compare which methodology will produce the best learning outcome among early learners. He said that out of the 32 schools under review in Pujehun, 24 schools are provided with digital technology items already and the organization is part of the study to identify which methodology produces the best leaning outcome for learners while using technology and non-technology learning materials.
Emmanuel Margai, a School Quality Assurance officer appreciated VSO for partnering with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education in implementing foundational learning with Key technical skills.
He said that education has evolved so must teaching and learning materials. , noting that parents and teachers must encourage learners to make effective use of this opportunity.

 He warned parents that they must not allow children to take the tablets home and noted that the project implementation complements the President’s free quality education vision.

 Chairman of Education Committee Councillor at the Pujehun District Local Council Philip Mando, said it was a privilege for Pujehun Disrict as a whole and for the selected schools to benefit from the project.

He said knowledge in technology is a requisite for employment and a self-empowerment in this modern age, and its introduction to learners at young age is a step in the right direction. He further mentioned that development is hard to come by, and called on his fellow councillors and community stake holders to ensure effective monitoring is done on both the facilities and the learners.
Yatta Sumailla, Head Teacher of the Every Nation Primary School expressed her satisfaction on the three days training provided for teachers on the use of the gadgets, noting that even teachers were challenged before on how to use the devices but with the training received so far has given them enough knowledge.

 She further mentioned that leaners seem to concentrate more and follow instructions when using the tablets as compared to when teachers are using the black board.

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