Computer School with Solar Section
the educational project run by the Association of Linux Friends Limbe/Cameroon
Short Project Description. The Computer school run by the Linux Friends in Limbe /Cameroon includes an annual course providing basic knowledge in computer science as well as sporadic IT-courses on advanced level. Born out of necessity, the School more and more is also working on electricity production, thus responding to the fact that in vast parts of Cameroun the power supply needed for operating computers is not assured.
Students pay a symbolic school fee. The training curriculum and teaching methods (e-learning) are developed in accordance with the students’ request. Upon successful conclusion of the Annual Course students are allocated a certificate approved by the local authorities. The certificate is well appreciated by the participants and considered an entry point to working life. It particularly enables women to do a first important step towards the formal economical sector.
The educational program is offered in the day school and in evening classes. The teaching staff is recruited among the graduates of the school. At present, the majority of students and teachers are women. In the past year, 30 graduates (out of about 50 students enrolled) obtained the final certificate.
The Computer School of Linux Friends Limbe was initiated ten years ago by the Swiss Michel Pauli and the Cameroonian Chanceline Ngainku and is registered as a non-profit organization under the name Association of Linux Friends Limbe. As a result of continuous trials and inventive work of the local project team and thanks to worldwide advances in the field of mini-computers with low energy consumption, the school today disposes of a well-functioning technical equipment (basis: Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 and PiNet) with a total of 17 computer workstations. The school has Internet access. Part of the computer is solar energy-operated.
As a next big step the project aims to develop and stabilize the advanced level training. Students are to be able to further qualify in the ICT and solar systems sector. The objective is to realize a qualified training program based on the dual vocational training system as a model. The maintenance of the school’s network as well as commissioned work in the field of computer and solar system installation will allow students to put the acquired theoretical knowledge into practice. In order to maintain and develop the actual project-based knowhow it is required to expand the number of today eight staff positions (including administration and domestic services) to eleven adequately rewarded working places.
The Context. In Cameroon, children from less well-off families generally have little chance to obtain a good professional education. The number of schools and study places offered by the State is not sufficient. Private schools are expensive. Only expensive schools are in a position to provide the necessary equipment and know-how to teach computer science. The dual vocational training as a training method is virtually non-existent. – Cameroon is ranked 152 out of 186 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. Unemployment is high, at the same time the country is registering a shortage of skilled workers. Development projects working in the educational field complain about facing difficulties when trying to recruit specialists for computer and solar system installations. Such Projects may be considered potential partners providing commission work for educational projects trying to realize dual vocational training in Cameroon. – In Cameroonian economy women are equally active as men, however they tend to work in precarious conditions in the informal sector. If the family lacks money for the education of children, girls usually stand in the queue behind.
Objectives 2016/2017. End of 2016: The basic course (Beginners class) runs optimally. The responsible persons for the Advanced Level concept development are determined. End of 2017: A training concept and a financing plan on Advanced Level is designed. In view of a cooperation, contacts with Swiss training centers are initiated.