Arusha secondary school computer lab... long way to go
Last week, a team of 12 students accompanied by their three teachers, came to Arusha on their "Peace Journey" Mission and donated eight computers to Arusha secondary school. The schoolís deputy headmistress, Safina Kiginga reveals how the "Computer Lab" still has a long way to go for a school with 1,500 students.
By Nyamanoko Bwire
QUESTION: How comes, those American students on their "Peace Journey" chose Arusha secondary, among other local schools, to donate the computer ?
ANSWER: The students, were on their three- week peace journey mission for Arusha and they were received here by the tour company of Simba Safaris.
They were 12 students with their three teachers. The team had brought the computer sets with them, ready to donate them to any local school but didnít know which one.
Coincidentally, a former student of our school works with the company and somehow, managed to convince them that they should give those computers to Arusha secondary school.
Q: Just like that, or you had previous discussions with them?
A: We heard of their interest since last year, that is even before the team set out on their mission and had various contacts with them in between, until they came here and Simba Safaris directed them to Arusha school.
Q: How many computers did you get and what is their total value?
A: The U.S. students gave us eight complete computer sets but how much they are really worth, is still not known, because the consignment was given to us as a present and you canít ask the benefactors how much they bought them.
Q: Before receiving the computers from the US, how many computers did Arusha secondary have?
A: We did not have even a single computer here, so it suffices to say that, we are quite thankful for the donation because we at least now, have somewhere to start ... A starting point.
Q: But the Member of Parliament, Felix Christopher Mrema once gave you some computers, where are they?
A: The MP indeed gave us computers, one set for each local school. Later, the sets were taken for repairs but the technician who repaired it, asked for Tsh.400,000, which the school couldnít afford.
Q: Are the eight computers adequate for the school?
A: Well, not exactly. Arusha Secondary has a total of 1,500 students, all of whom now have to share the eight computers between them. So you see, the ratio is rather too high.
In fact, even the 1,500 students have to attend regular lessons in double session daily. In order for the computers to be adequate, we need at least 40 computer sets.
Q: So, will the donated computers be put into use or they are simply going top be locked in the store until when you get enough?
A: First, we have to sit down as staff members and schedule a special timetable to fit in computer lessons because right now we donít have any.
But for this year, it will be a bit difficult, so we are actually thinking of the next learning year, because by then we would have come up with the right way of doing it. As I said earlier, our main problem is on how exactly to distribute the eight sets among the schoolís 1,500 students.
Q: Do you have computer teachers?
A: Most of our teachers have already taken computer classes and even as I speak, one of them is taking computer lessons at a certain institution in Njiro area.
In fact, even some of our students have basic computer knowledge, so while arranging the special timetable, we are also going to take this into consideration.
Both teachers and students with computer knowledge will work together in assisting other students to catch up.
Q: And what special efforts is the school making to ensure computer education at Arusha secondary is well established and remains sustainable?
A: We intend to organize a special fund raising project to raise money to build more classrooms in order to do away with the daily learning shifts or double sessions.
After that, it will be much easier to increase our computers to reach 40 in number or more. We want all our students to have the basic computer knowledge before leaving school, after which, they can always take further computer studies on their own.
July 25, 2003.