Teach, Learn, Empower.
Teach, Learn, Empower.
Propel Education is a not for profit organisation that seeks to propel children in the developing world out of poverty, by enabling entry to a world rich with accessible knowledge.
We use developing and technologically advanced education programmes to help children in underprivileged schools access the same technological benefits available to students in the developed world, encouraging and enabling improvement in teaching methods, and accelerating their rate of learning.
After more than 50 years of independence, Zambia has had a relatively peaceful existence, but the nation has failed miserably to prosper and rise out of poverty. Drought, famine and the AIDS epidemic have wreaked havoc, and as a result the Health and Education sectors have suffered the most.
While the government strives to provide a primary education to all, the schools are ramshackle and overcrowded. The standard of teaching is extremely poor, Zambia has a literacy rate of just over 60% and ranks the second worst in the SADAC region.
Linda Community School Statistics
What have we been doing
Since 2002 we have, with the help of partner NGOs, built a sustainable and comprehensive school complex with 12 classrooms, two science labs, a library, a fully equipped computer lab, and a school hall/community centre.
Applied for grants, lobbied donors and got electricity, running water, toilet facilities and internet connectivity. Funded the provision of school books, teacher resources and library books. Provided scholarships for 2nd and 3rd level education.
Funded a food programme in times of great need. Connected the school with NGO’s providing health care services such as Eye Care Ireland, I4Life (Immunization for Life), and Neri Clinics.
The school is stepping into the 21st century with the introduction of a fully equipped computer lab, two fully equipped science labs, a Camara-supplied server with educational content and laptops which can connect to the server through a closed campus-wide internet service projecting the content through projectors in the classroom. This technology, which is in use daily in developed-world schools, is new to the teachers in Zambia and they require training and encouragement to become familiar with its capabilities, move away from chalk-and-talk lectures and provide a blended learning experience for the students. Given the lack of resources in the educational system in Zambia, the teachers qualify with poor teaching skills, leading to apathy in adapting new methods. Propel Education will continue to provide resources, training and encouragement to the teachers at the school in order to accelerate their teaching abilities. However it will take several years for teaching methods to improve – and the children in the system today can’t wait.
Therefore the introduction of supplementary maths classes using a supported eLearning platform provided by Edulution is having an immediate impact and showing improved results in Grade 7 and Grade 9 exams (with one student scoring 100% in the Grade 9 maths test in Dec 2018). Seeing the impact it is having (which is explained in more detail below) we are focusing on funding the Edulution programme to keep the 600 students on it and also extend it to literacy classes. This is where we need help with fundraising as it cost $100 per student per year. We hope you can help the children of Linda with a donation.
In 2014 we experimented with, and saw the potential impact eLearning could have in a classroom, when Tim Bergin took 12 tablets and a laptop loaded with the KA Lite programme to the school and coached grade 6 students for 4 weeks. We saw the enthusiasm the pupils had for this form of learning The immediate feedback on the lessons the pupils attempted showed the level the students were at, allowing Tim to guide the pupil to the most appropriate lessons. However, we also learned that the pupils found it difficult to navigate the programme and wandered off-topic easily. Similarly, in spite of certain teachers showing a willingness to use the eLearning programme, their generally limited IT skills combined with a full day’s work in overcrowded classrooms, told us it would only work as a standalone supplementary programme at the school.
We continued to research how to deliver the service, running several scenarios to establish costings and sustainability of service. However, it was on a visit in 2016 that we discovered a company called Edulution (based in Lusaka) offering an eLearning platform, using tablets, coaches and a comprehensive support team involved in research and development of the product/service offering.
We met the principle, Michael Wray and discussed the product in detail – Michael had travelled a similar road with the use of IT in other Zambian schools to enhance learning and had come to the same conclusion – the schools do not have the skill set to manage IT and deliver an eLearning programme.
Edulution set up office in Lusaka in 2014 and in partnership with Pestalozzi World Foundation (a charity that provides secondary education to rural pupils at its centre in Lusaka and was looking for a way to offer these pupils employment) started to develop the concept of training young people who had attained a good secondary education, in the use of the technical equipment, classroom management and coaching skills, so that they could deliver an eLearning program in schools around the country. The company has developed and grown since its inception and now has over 10,000 students registered across 17 centres and 80-plus trained coaches delivering the service.
Edulution introduced its program at Linda Community School in September 2016 with the initial support/funding from Pestalozzi World Foundation and we at Propel Education took it over in February 2017. Today we have over 600 pupils registered on the programme, each receiving between 8 and 10 hours of maths tuition per month. Already we are seeing a significant benefit, with the 7th and 9th Grade pupils showing significant improvement in the pass rate in the 2017 state exams, and the school received a commendation from the Department of Education for this.
Propel Education’s focus will be to continue funding the programme at Linda Community school, work closely with Edulution on improving and adapting the programme based on what we are jointly learning at the school. We want to expand the content to include literacy and to bring more students onto the programme. This technology and delivery service is revolutionising education in Zambia and is the best way to combat decades of underfunding and poorly trained teachers. For donors it provides a measurable delivery where the progress of every student is tracked; they are coached and guided to learn at their own pace, gain mastery of the subject and develop a life-long skill of self-learning. The children of Zambia cannot wait for the current broken system of education to correct itself – they need a solution now – please join us on this journey as we make a difference.
There are a lot of health issues in the community of Linda due to the general poverty of the compound. We assist in bringing eye care specialists and glasses to the children and elders in the community. Working with the nearby Neri Clinics (www.nericlinics.org) helps address the general health needs of the school.
School equipment is on our list of priorities. We are aiming to create modern study environment by introducing internet infrastructure, computer lab and tablets to the education process alongside of traditional school material.
Due to the lack of experienced teachers it is vital to have volunteers to help with tuition and also to help teachers in developing their skills. Having students from Irish training colleges volunteer at the school and exchange ideas on training methods with the teachers provides a gateway to accelerate the development of impactful and sustainable teaching methods.
School is the centre of the community where family is a building block. Helping families in need is as important as building the school. Providing access to school facilities for the community and encouraging parents to attend courses on sustainability and health is key.
Linda Open Community School is located in a compound on the outskirts of Lusaka. It’s home to more than 60,000 people in shanty town living conditions. The AIDS epidemic has decimated the community leaving thousands of orphaned children. The school started in the late 90’s and became of interest to donors in 2002 when Sr. Claudia Bradley (Mercy Sister from Co. Offaly, Ireland) made visitors aware of the famine-like conditions in the compound and at the school.
Since then, and with the help of several donors, the school has grown from two classrooms to a secure school complex with 12 classrooms, 2 science labs, a library, computer lab and toilet blocks. The attending students has grown from 400 to 1800 and the teaching faculty from two untrained community teachers to 21 government-trained and 4 community teachers. The school has electricity, water and internet access. Sr. Claudia has been instrumental and the driving force in the development of the school. In recent years she has been handing over the management of the various projects to the NGOs and with her encouragement these projects continue to flourish.
Having been involved in the community since 2002 she sees the introduction of eLearning as the most significant initiative at the school. As missionary schools decline in the region and as the current teaching standards are low (particularly with teachers allocated to community schools) the intervention of technology and access to top rate teaching methods and content will bring about the biggest and most immediate change in education.
Capturing the moments
Our experiences, people we meet, children we teach and places we visit.
We believe in creating a personalised and effective learning experience for all.
Our “technosapien learning platform*” achieves this and so much more.
It delivers a truly unique combination of engaging content, human intervention, technology and analytics that is currently impacting over 9000 foundational numeracy and literacy learners across 31 centres in Zambia.
Education, employment, entrepreneurship and empowerment are just some of the benefits we transfer to the communities we serve.
Propel Education contracts with Edulution to provide eLearning services at Linda Community School.
VisionZambia works with the Linda community in Zambia to advance educational opportunities, relieve poverty through income-generating activities and promote health.
VisionZambia are Friends Helping Friends. The Vision Works for Life global community supports friends in Linda in partnership, so that both groups can develop and learn from the relationship
The 20,000 plus people who live in Linda are challenged by a lack of basic services, poverty and pervasive HIV. Many children are orphaned at a young age or cared for by their elderly grandparents. VisionZambia works in partnership with the Linda community, so that both groups can develop and learn from the relationship.
Propel Education and Vision Zambia take a joint approach to the development of the school in Zambia, while managing our programmes and indicatives separately, we co-ordinate and work towards a shared vision.
Latest Events and Posts
Edulution launches a new reporting app using Qlik.
The app facilitates the reporting for the centres latest activity, showing the statistics on the number of pupils logging onto the program, their activities and progress. The feedback and analysis it provides is helpful for the pupil, teacher, coach, school administration and the supporting donor.