Mobile Computer Laboratory engages one young mind


Inside the mobile laboratory. Photo credit: Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture - Samoa.

Faasegatulauniu Maiava, a ten year old with keen eyes, had never touched a computer keyboard before, let alone have the opportunity to go near one.  He was only able to view from afar what a computer looked like from a picture book. 

Highlights

  • As reliance on computers keeps on growing in Samoa, the education sector has been slow in its assimilation of new technologies for the implementation of its workplans and trainings not only for the teachers but also for the children.
  • "I think you can tell it to help your mother with the chores or maybe help me to add and do my homework. It's very smart so maybe when I grow up, I'll get one to help my mother for sure."

But thanks to funding from UNDP, the country’s first Mobile Computer laboratory was launched at the Ministry of Education, Sports & Culture headquarters on 14th September 2009. 

Faasega like many young children in the rural villages, will have the opportunity to experience typing, moving the mouse and get to do basic actions on a computer.  He was fascinated by the movement of the mouse and the action it was making on the screen. 

“This gift will allow many of the children who do not currently have access to computers to at least have the opportunity to know and feel what it is like to have a computer”, commented Ms Moana Luamanuvae, Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP. 

As reliance on computers keeps on growing in Samoa, the education sector has been slow in its assimilation of new technologies for the implementation of its workplans and trainings not only for the teachers but also for the children.  This deficiency was due to the high cost of equipment, lack of computer technical skills at school and lack of teacher training in computer subjects. 

Technology-mediated education has been proven to be effective in supplementing standard school curricula and exposing teachers to new ways of teaching methodologies hence the ministry came up with the initiative of a mobile computer laboratory which was included in its ICT master plan 2004-2007.   

While still being fascinated by what he was typing into the laptop, Faasega was asked what he thought a computer does, "I think you can tell it to help your mother with the chores or maybe help me to add and do my homework.  It's very smart so maybe when I grow up, I'll get one to help my mother for sure."

The laboratory funded by UNDP through a two year ICT for development project, is equipped with 6 laptops, a laser printer and a TV set as well as appropriate furniture and fittings.
                                           

Closed Project
ICT for development project - Samoa

The development of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) for a geographically isolated country like Samoa is paramount in the Government's plans to minimize distances between Samoans living overseas and their homeland on the remote islands, as well as increase their access to vital information about national issues and development plans.