Proficiency in IT is essential to improving employment opportunities, especially in areas like Tyume Valley with its high unemployment. TVS funds two TVS IT trainers, who together provide weekly IT classes throughout the valley. In 2017, 205 primary school children and 94 secondary students took part in our IT classes. School staff also comment on the improvements in the children's English which flow from their participation in the IT programme. Through our fundraising activities, we have been able to provide computers to local schools; we are currently phasing out our old desktop computers with over 30 new laptops.
Teaching initially focused on learning basic keyboard skills. However, regular assessment of the children highlighted the challenges experienced by some students, particularly their poor English reading and writing skills, which are needed for both on-line activities and classroom IT teaching. (Other challenges include unfamiliarity with formal testing and electricity power cuts that disrupt classes). Nevertheless, other schools in the valley are keen to join the IT programme. Because children's progress in IT depends so much on their English skills, from 2018 we are basing our IT syllabus on the Canadian TechnoKids software – specifically the TechNewsletter programme. This combines age-appropriate English language development with core Microsoft Word skills to create a personalised school Newsletter. The programme has been adapted to the local context and all TVS's laptops have been updated with the new software. As part of the initial training, teachers are encouraged to use evaluation forms focused on children's progress and outcomes; these can both provide routine feedback to teachers and enable learners' progress to be monitored over time.
We are also supporting Vuvu Tomi to obtain a full teaching qualification, which will improve her own employment opportunities.
Click here for more pictures of IT teaching in Tyume.