Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Firm Seeks to Improve Computer Literacy

OVER 100 schools have been provided with computer labs while 1000 others are expected to benefit in the next five years, thanks to an international organization known as Camara.

The Organization's Founder, Cormac Lynch, said in Dar es Salaam that the mission (of his organization) was to make sure that in ten years, all Tanzanians at all levels of education are computer literate.

Mr Lynch, who arrived in the country on Tuesday for a two-day tour, said his organization was finalizing a cooperation agreement with the government in a bid to supplement the State's efforts in the sector.

The government is currently implementing the Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow (TBT) project aimed at transforming education through technology, improve education quality and impart students with skills to earn a living through technology. "We want to transform education, give students from kindergarten to tertiary an access to computer.

Computer literacy is vital in the modern world and key in getting better jobs," he said. He said the organization goes beyond making computers available by training teachers on ICT, computer maintenance and recycling. Mr Lynch met the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda and charted out some critical issues including rural electrification; he was impressed by the comprehensive plans being implemented under the Rural Energy Agency.

"We use social enterprise, we provide services at subsidized prices to create the sense of ownership among beneficiaries," he said. The Camara Tanzania Chief Executive Officer, Ms Edna Hogan, said all schools are required, for example, to pay one per cent of the actual value a computer unit.

"We also require schools to have a lab room and electricity and we provide facilities and train trainers," she said. She added that in the past six months, the organization has imported 620 computers out of which 500 have been distributed to schools in Dar es Salaam, Ruvuma and Coast regions.

Ms Hogan said the organization opened its branch here following a request by Premier Pinda when he toured Ireland in 2009, adding that the objective is to provide services countrywide. She said Camara is an international organisation dedicated to using technology to improve education and livelihood skills in disadvantaged communities around the world, as a way of helping them break the cycle of poverty.

"Founded seven years ago in Dublin, Ireland, the organisation has built a proven model of 'education delivery' that is both sustainable and highly scalable," she noted. The Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Mr Philipo Mulugo, was quoted as saying that the government is committed to improving education and life skills in communities through technology, so that people are better equipped to compete in global labour market.

The minister mentioned TBT programme as one of the strategies already set to transform education through technology countrywide. Basing on the partnership venture facilitated by Camara, Mr Mulugo said the plan aims at building teachers' capacity in the use of technology and supply computers in schools and colleges.

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