Tanzania: Computer Project to Benefit Mtwara, Zanzibar Pupils

Computing

Thousands of pupils and teachers from public primary schools in Zanzibar and Mtwara region are set to benefit from the TZ21 project, a five-year United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded programme.

Speaking to the 'Daily News' on Wednesday, the USAID Tanzania Education Team Leader, Mr Thomas LeBlanc, said that the project will provide a laptop for every three pupils in Standard One up to Five in public primary schools in the said areas.

The project whose focus is on four subjects, English, Kiswahili, Mathematics and Science, uses video and games to assist the children to read, do calculations and spellings. "This project will have a huge impact on the quality of education in the country, it will take a few years but it will eventually build up to great success," Mr LeBlanc said enthusiastically adding that integration of information communication technologies in primary education will also strengthen professional development of primary school teachers.

The five-year project is a partnership between the USAID, with a funding of US 50 million dollars and private sector comprising Cisco, Intel, Microsoft with a US 45 million dollars funding and two local Internet Service providers, UhuruOne and Zantel. Mr LeBlanc said the laptops are tough and wont break or be affected by water and will not work if taken away from the school area because they are connected to a central server.

"The laptops cannot be stolen because they will not work far from the school because they are connected to a central server, neither will they break if they accidentally fall or be affected by water poured on them," he explained.

The laptops are charged overnight with solar panels, LeBlack explained optimistically, noting that the project will yield high results once fully implemented. Mtwara was specifically chosen because of USAID previous education project in the region but also because the region is soon set to develop extensively due to discovery of natural gas and oil.

"This project will equip them with skills and tools they need to succeed in getting jobs and build a more prosperous Tanzania," Mr LeBlanc said.