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Blue Mountains News

Five Tafe NSW Blue Mountains Students Install Solar Powered Computers at Vanuatu School

Source: Hon. Shayne Mallard Member of the Legislative Council
Posted: 23 May 2018
Five TAFE NSW Blue Mountains students have returned to Sydney after what could be considered a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Vanuatu.

The TAFE NSW information technology students were part of a team of nine who travelled to Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu to install ten low power computers on a solar power system at Sara Primary School. This project is an on-going partnership between TAFE NSW and Upper Blue Mountains Rotary Club who have sponsored the project for the past three years to install computers in under-privileged schools in Pacific Island countries.

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of IT and Business, Colin Tyrrell, said, “Most of the school students and some of the teachers had never experienced using a computer before, so it was delightful seeing their excitement when they were introduced to the technology.”

“This was an exciting, yet humbling experience for the TAFE NSW team,” said Colin. “After being warmly welcomed by the Sara Primary School teachers and children in the exotic surroundings, the team set to work from climbing up onto the school roof to install solar panels, to installing administration and education systems.”

The team’s communication and miming skills when demonstrating and teaching the programs were also put to the test, which they passed with flying colours. “A massive positive difference was seen when very shy, reticent children who were scared of touching a computer mouse chortled with glee when they got the hang of games like Mouse Maze, Balloon Pop and World of Zoo,” Colin said. “They had a lot of laughs while learning numeracy and literacy skills in a fun, interactive learning environment.”

“The students have certainly expanded their practical experience and learnt fundamental skills when installing the computer network and implementing education systems for the school, while making a positive difference to the children’s interactive learning experience,” explained Colin.

Shayne Mallard, MLC, said, “It was heartwarming to hear that five Blue Mountains students have made excellent use of the Endeavour Mobility Grant to learn new skills and make such a positive difference to the lives of Sara Primary School children, which I’m sure will have a positive impact on their education .”

The TAFE NSW IT students were part funded by the Federal Department of Education’s Endeavour Mobility Grant with $2,000 per student in government funds provided to offset airfare, accommodation, insurance, etc.

The Endeavour Mobility Grants are the Australian Government’s competitive, merit-based scholarships available to Australian citizens and residents and provides funding for selected students to undertake study experience overseas.

 
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