Ariane and I have just returned back to Germany from our first trip to Namibia. Here, we give you some insights as to what we’ve learnt and what our next steps are
1.) We visited our first pilot project at P.A.Y. Namibia
P.A.Y. is an after-school center for disadvantaged kids from the township of Katutura in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek. The guys at P.A.Y. are doing an awesome job with their afternoon program: Through a combination of academics and sports, they provide guidance and perspective to the children. Earlier this year, we entered into a cooperation with P.A.Y.: We provided laptops and a beta version of our eLearning platform for the students to use during the academic sessions in the afternoon.
Our support for P.A.Y. is also our first fully-fledged pilot project in Namibia. The pilot is being run and supervised by our partner Nenad Tomic , who is on the ground in Windhoek to coordinate the program and – most importantly, to start the data collection phase: Until December 2014, we will collect quantitative and qualitative data to analyze how well our eLearning platform works, i,e, by how much students in the area improve their academic results compared to students from earlier years. Just think about the fact that the average pass rate in the national secondary examinations in some schools in Katutura is only 40% – then you realize that we can really make a difference here.
2.) We visited 9 schools and kicked off the large-scale pilot project
We need to collect data from thousands of students to deliver a meaningful proof of concept. As such, we visited most of the state-run secondary schools in Windhoek, introduced the Global Diploma concept and asked for feedback. No matter who we talked to, Principals, teachers or students, they all were enthusiastic about Global Diploma and declared that they want to become our pilot schools.
One school that particularly impressed us was Augustineum Secondary School. Once one of the leading schools in Namibia, the school’s quality in terms of teaching and infrastructure had been declining for decades (see photo). Under new leadership by Mrs. Ferreira, the school has embarked on a journey to become great again: metrics to measure teacher- and student-success have been introduced and you literally feel a new spirit in the school. Of course, the introduction of Global Diploma comes at exactly the right time and we are looking forward to supporting more than 200 students from Augustineum from the Summer onwards by integrating Global Diploma into the daily teaching routine. The same principle holds for all the schools that we visited – we are absolutely thrilled to introduce Global Diploma at all these schools in Windhoek by September.
3.) What’s next?
We are now starting to turn the closed beta version of the platform into a public versions. Tests with several hundred students in Germany have delivered very positive results and we will be ready for roll-out in Namibia by September.
We are now working on selecting the right hardware to use for the students (laptops, desktops, tablets) and will come up with a scalable hardware concept by July.