Royal Zambezi Lodge (RZL) is now actively supporting Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ), on a scheme specifically designed to arm pupils in the local school’s Conservation Club with the unique ‘iSchool’ tablets. These devices are effectively tablet computers which are pre-loaded with the whole Zambian education curriculum and a special conservation curriculum designed and developed by CLZ and iSchool. The software can be updated on a modular basis.
Besa Kaoma, CLZ’s full-time Environmental Education Manager, has initiated the scheme to:
- Teach the children modern conservation techniques which hopefully could lead to higher education in the subject.
- Bring children in rural schools up-to-speed with new technology.
Many of RZL’s guests show an interest in sponsoring local development programmes and this is no exception. Some members of Lesmurdie Tennis Club in Australia visited the Lodge recently and to kick-start the iSchool scheme have very kindly donated 14 of these educational tablets to our local Mugarameno School which is 35kms from the Lodge and already enjoys RZL support on an on-going basis.
To maximise the benefits of the scheme RZL brought the schoolteachers to CLZ for targeted training in the use of the tablets. They really responded well and Natalie Black, the GM at RZL, attended the teachers’ first live presentation to a very critical “class” of CLZ staff.
“It was very impressive! The teachers deservedly received their training certificates. They were really enthusiastic and motivated which of course is infectious! The “pupils” loved it”
To optimise the impact, the use of the tablets is being restricted to pupils in the School’s Conservation Club as by joining the Club they have previously shown initiative. The Club already has 30 members and the fourteen tablets should enable them all to participate – with a bit of sharing. Two of the fourteen tablets are specifically designed for teachers. There will be a learning curve and the school has over 500 pupils so there is plenty of scope for an expansion of the scheme.
Hopefully this initiative will stimulate an appreciation of education generally and one day we will see a pupil from Mugarameno School doing a diploma or a degree and maybe even in a conservation related subject.