Friday, March 30, 2012

Peace Corps Partnership

My colleague, a history teacher at my school, and I recently wrote and submitted a grant proposal to purchase a copy machine and printer for my school through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. This program uploads the proposal onto the Peace Corps website and allows for donations from website viewers back in the US. Once the proposed budget is fulfilled, this one at $3,923, the volunteer (me) will have access to the money to put the grant plans into action. The program has recently accepted our proposal. I have outlined what I see as the main benefit for the copy machine below: essentially, the enhancement of the quality of education my school will be able to offer the students, though its advantages will be far reaching at both the scholastic and community levels. If the statement resonates with you, the link to donate on the website is also below. A copy machine will revolutionize the capacity in which my school and the community as a whole can run, making this technology affordably available and accessible to about 16,000 people for the first time. This project will definitely make a direct impact on my community and continue to do so long after I leave. A school, by nature of the number of lives it impacts, needs a copy machine to function, and I would be honored if I could help implement this technology in the community and school I have grown to love to live in. On behalf of the people of Invinha, I thank you for your dedication to reading about our lives here through my blog, and I therefore thank anyone in advance who is able to help us realize this project.
Invinha is the only secondary school in the area and serves students who travel unfathomable distances to and from school everyday by foot or bike (up to 20km in one direction). It is also considered one of the top schools in the province (which is, however, the lowest academically performing province in the country), yet still has definite improvements to make as far as the quality and student support it offers. I believe that offering the services of printing and copying is extremely important as Invinha continues in its efforts at development, of which education (and ideally good education) is the cornerstone. As my counterpart and I began thinking of ways in which I/we can make a lasting and meaningful impact on our school, we felt that a copy machine was the most dynamic and student-centered, allowing for the most meaningful improvements to the quality of education in an area where school buildings are becoming accessible for a growing number of students but where the quality of this education is still quite lacking.
Teachers and students will be the main beneficiaries of the inauguration of these technologies. A school cannot fully function without a copy machine. When a teacher in Mozambique and at my school wants to give a test in which every student will receive his own copy (as opposed to writing a shorter, less evaluative one on the chalkboard), he mandates that every student who wishes to take the test contribute the amount for that test copy to be made and a portion of the travel fees the teacher will accrue on his way to the city about 20km away, which has the nearest copy machine. With all the disciplines each student takes (up to 11 in some grades), this fee becomes exorbitant to all, and wholly restrictive to some, by the end of the academic year. By lowering the price for copies and printing and not requiring teachers to travel to the city to copy tests, more students will be more able to contribute and take the test, allowing more students to pass more classes. Furthermore, when a teacher wants to use a text or handout in class, he also requires a contribution from students for the printing and copying of said document. Teachers therefore rarely do this, instead they must write it all out on the board or dictate it aloud, and the students copy the information, which wastes valuable class time that could be better allocated elsewhere. This time could be used in a more enhanced manner to more deeply discuss, explain, and practice the information if they were able to cheaply disseminate texts, worksheets, handouts, etc to their students. The introduction of the technologies will tremendously improve the quality of education the students receive on a daily basis at my school. After the teachers are briefed on the great value these easily accessible machines can have on their teaching, they will be able to incorporate student-centered and creative plans into their lessons that will increase their students’ academic gratification and performance. The acquisition of skills and knowledge that simple handouts can provide in a classroom setting is vast and downright important, and can only be introduced to the school through the purchase and implementation of the printer and copy machine that these funds will ultimately buy.
Again, thank you for your continued time and support in reading my blog, especially this one. We here in Invinha thank you in advance for any support you may be able to give, helping us in a very necessary way to provide a higher quality of education to our students.
Use this link to read more about the proposal and to donate:

1 comment:

  1. It’s never too early to think about the Third Goal. Check out Peace Corps Experience: Write & Publish Your Memoir. Oh! If you want a good laugh about what PC service was like in a Spanish-speaking country back in the 1970’s, read South of the Frontera: A Peace Corps Memoir.