Teaching megabytes in Malawi

A computing teacher from Rainhill High School will travel to Malawi to help underprivileged children and school staff develop computer skills.

Nicola Looker, previously a computer programmer in the private sector, has been a teacher of IT and computer science at Rainhill High School for the past three years. She, along with six other teachers from across the North West will travel to Malawi in south-eastern Africa to help staff and students improve their computing skills. The visit, which will take place this May half-term, has been organised as part of a project led by the University of Manchester, CAS (Computing at School) and the charity, Ripple Africa.

Mrs Looker, the St Helens Hub Leader for CAS, said: “I am passionate about computing and excited about having the opportunity to build on the success of last year’s pilot project. Working with teachers in Malawi will give them the skills and knowledge to teach computing to their students.

“Improving access to life-changing technology and skills is a fundamental issue for developing countries such as Malawi. Given today’s world of global communication, providing opportunities for children to learn computing may give them access to employment in the technology sector.”

Staying in a hut on the shore of Lake Malawi, the team will be training staff and students at Bandawe Mixed, Bandawe Girls and Kapanda Community Day Secondary School. Working with classes of more than 100, Nicola will find education in Africa a huge contrast to the small class sizes she teaches in Rainhill. However, she is looking forward to the experience.

“Class sizes are much larger than I’m used to, but the opportunity to arm these children, many of whom walk for up to 10km barefoot to school, with a skillset that will enable them to build a better future for themselves, is an opportunity I couldn’t refuse,” she said.


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