[Originally published in the Vanuatu Independent newspaper.]
A number of Port Vila schools have recently begun to take the Internet seriously. Assisted by veteran and novice IT volunteers, they’ve invested their meagre computing resources in an undertaking designed to help teachers create a richer and more open learning environment.
As with all things, it started small. Circumstance threw a few IT professionals together and led them to collaborate to improve their own children’s education. One thing led to another, and now we’re beginning to see the first fruits of integration of technology with teaching in Vanuatu.
The story begins five months ago when four parents, all of them seasoned IT professionals, began to chat about how to improve conditions at Central School, where their children were enrolled. Before very long they were at the core of a group of over 30 parents and teachers, all devoted to taking advantage of computers and the Internet in order to improve the quality of education.
This may sound familiar. It’s not the first time in Vanuatu that parents have moved mountains one pebble at a time to supplement their school’s limited resources. Nor is it the first time that teachers have been able to indulge their personal and professional enthusiasm for their vocation by working with the community at large.
But there are a few unique aspects to this story.