Pedagogy and Scratch

Pedagogy and Scratch

Project Malawi – update

Fundraising has got off to a flying start – less than a week in and on the back of a couple of emails, blog posts and tweets my total stands at over £250! In addition we have arranged a week of activities in my school, including a non-uniform day, disco and biscuit sale. Also, one of my colleagues, who is running the Manchester half-marathon has offered to raise money in aid of this cause. Huge thanks you to everyone who has donated or offered their support so far.

In other news, I now know I will be spending much of the Easter holidays being a pin cushion. In no particular order I need to be boosted or inoculated for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, yellow fever, rabies as well as going on a strong course of anti-malarial drugs. If I look a bit peaky after the holidays, you’ll know why!

If you would like to make a donation to help support sustainable education projects in Malawi, please use the link below:

Project Malawi – update

Project Malawi – Context

Not knowing what to expect in Malawi, I’ve done a little bit of research into the country, and in particular it’s economy. As a point of reference I’ve compared some of the key indicators to the UK. It makes interesting reading…

– 2017 GDP per capita in Malawi according to the OECD was $1,172 per year, making it world’s 6th poorest country. The UK’s output is 37 times higher at $43,620. Source: Wikipedia
The 2011 Welfare and Monitoring Survey found that 21.6% of 6-29 year olds have never attended school, the teacher to pupil ratio is 1:92. This compares to 1:21 in primary and 1:16 in secondary in the UK, which in itself lags behind much of Europe, for example in France the numbers are 1:18.2 and 1:12.9 respectively. Source: TES
– Only 58.5% of school children complete their first four years and only 23% of schools have adequate sanitary facilities. Source: UNICEF
– The percentage of females and males aged 25+ years that have some secondary education is 39.2% and 58.2% respectively. Source: Ripple Africa
– Life expectancy in Malawi is 63 years compared to 82 in the UK. Source: World Bank
– In 2016 6.5% of people in Malawi had access to the internet, compared to 92.6% in the UK. Source: Internet live stats

To help make a difference and improve these statistics, please make a donation on my fundraising page:

Project Malawi – Context

Project Malawi

It was a cold December morning and there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. I was sitting in Rochdale Masonic Hall taking part in a children’s mental health course. Africa couldn’t have been further from my thoughts, when an email popped up in my inbox: ‘A master teacher opportunity’. Expecting to see an email with training opportunities or access to more great resources, I read on… However, there was a bit more to this than initially met the eye. The opportunity in question was to spend some time in Malawi with a team from CAS Manchester and the University of Manchester developing the teaching and learning of computer science.

I was aware of the project previously from a donation of laptops our school made the year before. I’m not sure whether it was the unusual surroundings of the Masonic Hall, or the contrast with a dark, frosty morning but I instantly wanted to get involved. There and then I expressed an interest, and now three months later I find myself in the process of planning for the opportunity of a lifetime.

So what’s it all about?

This is the second year Project Malawi has run. Last year a team of 7 people consisting of 3 university staff, 3 Computer Science students and one Master Teacher delivered about 80 hours of teaching in 50 sessions to over 200 school students across a large age range, from Primary-level to Form 4 at Secondary School. Girls made up about 40% of the children involved. The paragraph below explains what happened last year, and is taken from the CAS report of the project.

A range of educational activities was planned and delivered including both “unplugged” (without machines) and computer-based activities. Unplugged sessions included teaching algorithms through dance, and through music including with hand-bells, programming “human robots”, and using Barefoot activities and materials. Computer- based activities, using laptops and pi-tops, included programming in Scratch using Code Club resources, programming in MicroPython on micro:bits using Mu, and building and programming cars with Crumble kits. There were multiple sessions at several schools most days, including at the weekends.

The project was such a success that there was a great demand for it to be repeated, but this time on a larger scale. This year there will be approximately 6 Master Teachers, 6 students and a small team of support staff delivering sessions over a 5 weeks period from late May to early July. I will be in Malawi for the first two weeks, helping the project launch and running sessions for both children and teachers. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up.

The project is organised by Ripple Africa who have been working in Malawi on education, environment and healthcare projects since 2003. They are a fantastic charity, with a great ethos to provide “a hand up, not a hand out”, their work is socially responsible, ethical and sustainable. I am delighted to be able to be involved in their work.

If you would like to make a donation to support the work of Ripple Africa, please visit my fundraising page by clicking on the link below.

Project Malawi