Imarisha Education Conference

My name is Albin Mathais. I am the Country Director for Powering Potential. On 21-22 February 2014, Elibariki Magnus and I attended the Imarisha Education Conference in Moshi which was sponsored by the British Council and Learning InSync.

One of the presentations at the Imarisha Education Conference 

The Conference was very nice and covered the following topics: 

1) An overview of governmental policies on ICT integration in education at the school, local and national levels

2) Discussion and analysis on the best practices in the implementation of strategies, programs and methods of ICT use in education within Tanzania and East Africa 

3) The exchange of ideas on the impact of ICT on education, including ICT enhanced teaching and learning as well as teacher professional development

4) Examining avenues for the effective scaling of ICT based programming 

5) Ways to strengthen the network of stakeholders required to implement ICT-based education programming at scale. 

Jenista Mhagama Deputy Minister Ministry of Education and Vocational Training 
and Guest of Honor says a few words 

Jenista Mhagama, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, was the Guest of Honor. Different stakeholders also made various presentations with different approaches on implementing ICT based solution in different schools.

There were big challenges discussed in conference, including the affordability of ICT infrastructure sustainability hardware and software, digitizing educational content and power availability in rural areas.

Panel discussion with Albin Mathias
(wearing a white shirt in the center of the panel)

Powering Potential has almost covered most of these challenges with inexpensive low-power Raspberry Pi technology and a suitable project plan based on collaboration with schools and the local government, ensuring sustainability and use of alternative solar power systems. 

We also provide offline content for learning purposes. Most people, especially headmasters, came to our showcase table requesting that we include their schools. We were also given two formal letters from different headmasters making their requests in writing.

Albin explaining our program to Mr. Bakari G. Issa (seated) and Mr. Wangelega (standing)
I met the MoEVT official in person who attended the conference, Mr. Bakari G. Issa, Director of Teacher Education and Mr. Wangeleja from TIE, the Director of Research and Information Publication. 

They were impressed with the Powering Potential approach and even asked to prepare meeting at  MoEVT about it. I also met Dr. Hassan Mshinda, Director General of COSTECH. He is familiar with Powering Potential and happy with our efforts. 

RACHEL content displayed in projector at showcase table

When he was leaving, we had a little talk. He appreciates the technology  we are using. He insisted the project  has to be evaluated by other agencies, including the Ministry of Education, that will provide a suitable approach for scaling out nationwide.

Albin Mathias narrating RACHEL content to the attendees
I explained the RACHEL content to all delegates in the conference and gave them access with their smartphones and laptop. Everyone was very impressed.

Albin Mathias presenting a Raspberry Pi computer

This conference has made me aware that we are doing very great, but we need to consider and push the Ministry to look at our project to create a partnership to scale through the country.

I also met Turkington from the Vodaphone Foundation, who just read the article about Powering Potential in a Precision Air magazine. She was interested to follow up and come to our showcase table.

Another person I met is Joyse M. Baravuga, a technical coordinator for ICT teacher education programs. She is also a network engineer graduate from St. Joseph College of Engineering and Technology in Dar. 

Overall, this was a wonderful experience. Thank you to the Conference and the organizers for this great opportunity for Powering Potential to show what we are doing in Tanzania.