Proposal for Winter Term Mathematics

PROPOSAL TO HAVE THE HANDS OF CHARITY FUNDED TO FACILITATE THE IMPLIMENTATION OF THE XO LAPTOP PROGRAM IN KERICHO AND BUNGOMA

11th January to 2nd April 2010

Prepared by Mark Bill Koech

 

 

Contents

List of Tables. 3

1.     Executive summary. 4

1.1 Problem… 4

1.2 Proposed Solution. 4

1.3 Funding requirements. 4

1.4 The Hands of Charity. 4

2.    Statement of need. 5

3.    Project description. 6

3.1 Objectives. 6

3.2 Methods. 6

3.3      Staffing and administration. 8

3.4 Evaluation. 8

3.5      Sustainability. 9

4.    Budget 9

5.    Conclusion. 10

List of Tables

 

Table 1: HIV/AIDS Weekly Time Table. 7

Table 2: Mathematics Weekly Time Table. 8

 

 

1.      Executive summary

1.1 Problem

As has been stated and continues to be stated countless times all over the press, in books, on TV and on the Internet, there is a big problem with the education systems of Africa, and rural Kenya is by no means an exception. In particular, there is an acute lack of in education subjects, especially with the languages (English and Swahili) and Mathematics, inevitably resulting in very poor performance in these fields.

There is also an almost complete lack of exposure to IT material in this day and age. Students and pupils have no access to and skill to use computers, therefore are yet to discover the great, diverse and extremely resourceful use of the internet. This, coupled with poverty resulting from, among many other reasons, HIV and AIDS, has brought forth a problem almost too complex to fathom.

1.2 Proposed Solution

Hands of Charity wants to step in and begin a process of bringing change one small step at a time and begin reversing the erosion and poor performers that these problems have brought about over time. We aim to do this by targeting Primary School children (between 10 and 15 years) using the XO laptop, a highly flexible and useful machine developed for use among children of this age.

Six hundred children will benefit from our initial program in two districts in Kenya, Kericho and Bungoma, which will run for 12 weeks, from 11th January 2010 to 2nd April 2010. The program will be implemented on the ground by six volunteers, divided into two groups each in one district, recruited by the organisation.

1.3 Funding requirements

Kenya shillings 745,400 (approximately US$9,939) is needed to sustain the group doing the 12 week implementation period. This money is meant to last through the three months that we will be on the implementation path. Over time, we aim to introduce slightly advanced learner colleges in the communities for older students who will have graduated from primary school. They will pay a small amount to attend, and this money then used to sustain the project beyond the three month initial period. This will not only create a win-win situation for both the project and the young community, it will also create employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for these young people, enabling them to carve out a living for themselves in the future.

1.4 The Hands of Charity

Our organisation, the Hands of Charity, is a Community Based Organisation (CBO) in Kasarani, Nairobi, which chiefly concentrates on community empowerment and gives donations and some resources to small organisations and individuals with need. We give food and cloth donations collected other members of the community to orphaned children as well as help set up small income-generating activities among members of our community. We also organise seminars, lectures and small conferences to inform, educate and equip different groups in our community with necessary material that they need to perform their respective functions.

2.     Statement of need

With an ever reducing number of children who finish Primary School and even smaller who finish Secondary School at the standard age of 18, children in schools clearly lack direction in and purpose for school. In the target school in Kericho district, Keongo Primary School, nearly 250 children that join primary school at the age of 6 to 8, yet only an average of 158 successfully navigate through and graduate from the 8 year course. This high drop out rate is caused by lack of money, children getting orphaned by HIV/AIDS and are therefore taken in by relatives as casual labourers, lack of interest in school and perennial poor performance and constant castigation by teachers drives these children into finding school to be torture forced upon them by their parents. At some point these children decide to drop out and start looking for ways to earn a living, or simply drop out and get drawn into negative activities like drug abuse and sex.

Some of these children do indeed finish Primary School and progress to Secondary School. Here, the story of lack of motivation, lack of learning material and the extremely theoretical teaching methods continues. Unfortunately for Kenya, the free Primary and Secondary education introduced a few years back has left most schools in dire lack of resources due to the overwhelmingly large number of children who are admitted into the schools every year. So instead of the teachers concentrating on students on an individual level, they just brush through their syllabi with the aim of ploughing through it as quickly as they can. The end products of this is a generation of half-baked students who have a certificate to show that they completed the four year Secondary School course but no skill or mental capacity to show for it.

The success story of finishing Secondary School, ironically, is a prestigious thing to achieve, since only a small number of young people overcome the obstacles they face. The case is different for boys from girls.

As boys approach and enter puberty, they start to develop physically and as a result have the power to do physical work, causing them to prefer it to school since they can make quick money out of it. There is nothing wrong with physical work to earn a living, but hardly does a year pass before they begin to do what their immediate elders do: drugs. Alcohol and cigarettes are highly abused in rural Kenya, with nearly 90% of young people between the age of 16 and 35 abusing them. This coupled with lack of adequate education and any reasonable skill reduces them to nothing more than idlers who almost always end up in poverty.

The case of girls is different. There are those that are asked by their parents to quit school and help them with household chores, and there are those that go to school but due to the large number of idle young men preying on them and lack of guidance by parents and teachers, 65% end up pregnant and consequently drop out of school. With both cases, there is little if any useful knowledge and skill left in them to do anything constructive and beneficial and help them earn a living. As if the problems are not complex enough, there is the threat of HIV/AIDS looming over all the members of the community, young and adult alike.

We at the Hands of Charity (HOC) fully appreciate the gravity of the situation in these communities but we also realise that all these things mentioned above can be nipped at the bud by reversing this spiral downfall through proper education of children beginning at a younger age of about ten. We will introduce to them the new and exciting XO laptop, and with it raise interest in and teach Mathematics and HIV Awareness among the children. As the children learn using these specialised machines, they will as a result learn to read and write better and to handle and operate the XO laptop, which has many similar commands as the more commonly used Operating System in Kenya, Windows.  

We have recruited four volunteer students from local Universities and Colleges who are skilled computer users to do the tutoring. They are to be split into two groups and each group will be accompanied to the teaching centres (schools) by a trained teacher who will guide them through the teaching process. The two teams, led by the teachers are to find a place to stay near the school, eat and live there throughout the three month period.

3.     Project description

3.1 Objectives

  • § We hope to make learning of Mathematics easier and more interesting by using the activities the XO laptop has to inspire interest and raise the average percentage mark of all the children by 20% by the end of the three months.
  • § Make sure all the children pass correct information to at least three members of their families and two other members of their society about HIV/AIDS by bringing information the disease to these children by sharing stories and information about the disease using the XO laptop.
  • § Improve the grade in the English subject in school by an average percentage grade of 20% by the end of the three month period by teaching grammar and improving the children’s pronunciation and spelling using the Write activity as we teach Mathematics and HIV/AIDS Awareness.
  • § By using the XO to achieve the objectives above, we hope to make sure in the process at least 80% of the children are able to navigate the XO, access and use its applications without any help or supervision.

3.2 Methods


The project shall begin on the 10th of January 2010. The two teams, that is the Kericho Team and the Bungoma Team shall start teaching at the same time in their respective schools in order to maximise available computers, which are quite few in number. Each respective team will leave Nairobi for Kericho and Bungoma, 300 km and 450 km respectively, on the 8th of January 2010. They will use the two days to settle and prepare for the classes starting the following Monday.  

There will be two classes per day in each school, one from 1500 to 1600 hrs and from 1600 to 1700 hrs local time from Monday to Friday. Each class will have a tutor, his assistant and the supervisor. As one tutors his/her respective subject, a volunteer member of the community or one of the school’s teachers will assist him help the pupils with the XO laptops and keep the class in order. The supervising teacher is to ensure smooth running of the classes and is also responsible for the facilitation of the tutors, the co-ordinator of his team’s activities and the link between the HOC headquarters, the school and his team. He/she is also responsible for updating the HOC blog (hoclaptop.blog.com). 

Our organisation looks to target children between the age of 10 and 14. The approximately 400 children will be divided into ten classes 4E, 4W, 5E, 5W, 6E, 6W, 7E, 7W, 8E and 8W according to their age group. Each class will be allocated a period in a week and taught HIV/AIDS and Mathematics in an alternating pattern through the week. The tutors and the supervising teacher will travel every day from their place of residence to their respective schools. Since the schools are in very rural areas, there are no places of residence nearby and therefore the teams will be required to put up in the nearest urban centre.

At the end of each week, the teams will to travel back to Nairobi and give their weekly report on their progress to the HOC co-ordinator and the other officials. They will be questioned extensively on their progress and the HOC Secretary will then draft a report and file it for storage/filing. The Teams will also have the weekends free to visit their families before returning back to their centres on Sunday and prepare for the next week’s classes.

The schools have monthly Continuous Assessment Tests (CATs) that are used to examine the progress made by their pupils. The supervising teacher will closely monitor the children’s results and use them to access the progress made by the children in Mathematics, English and HIV/AIDS awareness. The CATs given to the children test the children’s knowledge in all these fields. At the end of the three months, the pupils will also be given special tests prepared by the HOC teams to test their progress in spelling, pronunciation and speech in English and computer proficiency.

A full report will be prepared at the end of the three month period, detailing the progress on a weekly basis. A summarised version of this will then be published on the HOC website (under construction) and made available for all to read.

The need to have the children taught in the afternoon is necessary at the beginning of the program is important because the schools need to develop confidence in our work, and the first step towards that is making sure we do not interfere with the normal running of the school teaching program. We are not interested in replacing the teaching methods they use; all we want to do is to supplement them. We want to help them improve the concentration spans and interest of the children in these subjects and also interest the children generally into coming to school. Computers are unheard of in these schools we hope the euphoria created in the schools and also in the communities by the arrival of these laptops will us achieve the latter. 

The HIV/AIDS program is also very important. Both schools are in areas adjacent to budding urban settlements. Although this is meant to be a blessing, it unfortunately comes with the curse of sex, drugs and negative peer pressure. All these are catalysts to the rapid infection and spread of the HIV virus. The XO’s ability to take pictures and publish text will help the trainers pass on information in the HIV/AIDS curriculum in a fun and visual manner easy for the children to understand. We want to make them agents of change in their families and communities.

  1500 – 1600 hrs 1600 – 1700 hrs
Monday Class 4E Class 4W
Tuesday Class 5W Class 5E
Wednesday Class 6E Class 6W
Thursday Class 7W Class 7E
Friday Class 8E Class 8W

 

Table 1: HIV/AIDS Weekly Time Table

  1500 – 1600 hrs 1600 – 1700 hrs
Monday Class 5E Class 5W
Tuesday Class 6W Class 6E
Wednesday Class 7E Class 7W
Thursday Class 8W Class 8E
Friday Class 4E Class 4W

 

Table 2: Mathematics Weekly Time Table

 

3.3 Staffing and administration

The Hands of Charity is headed by the Co-ordinator, Theresa Okello, who oversees all the activities of the organisation. She will perform a similar role in this project. Her role will be to make sure the project staff is properly provided for, the donors are informed about our progress and make sure all the resources used in the project are properly accounted for.

Immediately under her are the Secretary and the Treasurer. The Secretary does all the record keeping, writes reports, minutes for all the meetings held, and will be responsible for putting together the final report for the project. The Treasurer receives all the money received by the organisation, banks it and is also the official book keeper of the organisation. The records are all kept within the organisation’s offices and in case any of the other officials want to see these records, they are availed. The treasurer also makes all payments approved by the organisation. During the XO laptop project, the Treasurer will be responsible for making sure all money needed by the field teams.

The field teams will be led by the Team Leaders, who are trained teachers charged with supervisory roles. The Kericho team will be led by Mark Bill Koech and the Bungoma team led by Fred Wakasiaka. Each leader will have two tutors in his team. The Team Leaders will also have the responsibility of recruiting a member of the respective communities to help the tutors and in the process learn how to do the tutorage. The flow chart below will illustrate this hierarchical order of administration specifically for the project.

Co-ordinator, Theresa Okello

Treasurer

Secretary

Team Leaders (supervising teachers)

Tutors

 

3.4 Evaluation

The key to proper evaluation of this project is testing the children. With every lesson, there is a small test that will be given by the tutor. This test will be done in groups, where children will either solve Mathematics sums together and the time they take measured or will be told to write HIV/AIDS related stories or prepare picture books using the XO’s in-built camera that will be stored and shared later with the children.

The XOs also have activities like Pippy and Turtle Art that will be used to test if basic Mathematical concepts like addition, multiplication, subtraction and division, as well as angles, fractions, ratios, percentage and basic algebra have been understood. What the children score in these tests will be recorded and the weekly data represented by a line graph to show the progress they have made. This will also be done in groups to help breed a culture of collective success and to utilise the few laptops available.

At the beginning of the program, there will be a test given to the children to test how much they know about basic information on the HIV virus and the AIDS disease. On a monthly basis, as the lessons are taught, there will be other tests given to the children and progress made on certain HIV and AIDS related issues – like means of infection and treatment of the infected in the society – tracked and documented. We will then use this information to know what other information can be given to the children and what methods we can use to best teach them.

Reading and writing will also be evaluated. Since the formal language of communication in Kenya is English, it is only fair that we make sure the children also speak correct English. So in the course of the tutorage, the children will be asked to write and read out stories they have made, then use these to observe progress in pronunciation, clarity, eloquence and reading speed. The Kenya schools’ curriculum also includes a section for Composition in English, where children are asked to write on a given topic. With permission from the school, we will keep records on the children’s progress and use them to track progress made on this. We also hope to dedicate few hours and teach grammar.

The performance by the children in all the school CATs will also help us track changes made in Mathematics, English and Social Studies – the subject into which children’s education on HIV/AIDS by the Kenyan curriculum is incorporated.

3.5 Sustainability

As mentioned earlier, progress reports on all the activities of the project will be posted on the HOC website. With this, we hope to attract more funding to facilitate the next three month phase of the project (May, June and July). In the process, we will look for funding to set up a computer college for the adult community in the areas. This will be for the post primary and secondary school level people who are willing to learn computer. We are aware that the importance of Computer literacy is being realised by the community realised with the help of schools and organisations like ours, so we hope to take advantage of this by bringing a college to the people. They will pay a small fee to learn a few packages and we will then use the money we get from this to fund part of the subsequent phases of the project.

4.     Budget

Item Description Cost
Transport Transportation of the two 3-member teams to the district towns where they will be residing for 12 weeks 12 weeks x 6 x Ksh 1200 = 86,400
Daily transport from the places of residence to the schools 6 x 60 days1 x Kshs 200 = 72,000
Food Meals for all the members of the teams: breakfast, lunch and supper Breakfast: Kshs 100 x 6 x 60 days = 36,000
Lunch: Kshs 200 x 6 x 60 days = 72,000
Supper: Kshs 250 x 6 x 60 days = 90,000
Accommodation Accommodation costs for all the members of the team 6 x 60 days x Kshs 700 = 252,000
XO battery charging Charging the batteries of the XOs2 Kshs 50 x 19 XOs x 60 days = 57,000
Internet charges Modems Kshs 4000 x 2 per team = 8,000
Data costs Kshs 1000 x 60 days = 60,000
Telephone call charges Mobile phone airtime costs Kshs 100 x 2 (team leaders) x 60 days = 12,000
Grand Total 745,4003

 

Notes:

1The total days are 60 because we will teach five days a week for 12 weeks.

2The schools do not have electricity so we have to look for charging booths and pay to have the XOs charged

3Grand Total about US $ 9,939, using the current exchange rate of 75.

5.     Conclusion

The concept behind this project is very new in Kenya, so with proper funding we hope to make small changes that will merge to one big leap towards achieving better quality education of children and positive progress through education and information technology.

We also hope to raise awareness on the need of such projects in Kenya and indeed throughout Africa so that our continent can find learned solutions to its own problems under its own circumstances.

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About smallsolutionsbigideas

Believer in educating the world using "open systems", "open content", "open source" and providing tools to inquiring minds without pre-conditions.
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