Category Archives: Betivatu

Training in monitoring completed at Rate and Betivatu

The team has completed on-site training in monitoring and backup system this week. Teachers, community champions and the solar management committee were trained to monitor the solar power supplies, conduct periodic inspections and how to report faults. Additionally, a simple method was introduced to monitor educational impacts and activities supported by the solar power.

The last two schools to receive the training were Rate and Betivatu Primary Schools, on Thursday 31st October and Friday 1st November.

English teacher at Betivatu reviewing UNESCO resources

English teacher at Betivatu reviewing UNESCO resources

Teachers reported many early benefits from the solar power. Neither school has had a reliable generator and so the reliable solar power and lighting has made big difference, especially with examinations coming up. Both schools reported daily evening classes for exam years, with some students who live too far to walk in the evening, boarding in the classrooms so that they can study.

Both schools are keen to use ICTs and are developing ICT plans and proposals. The team provided open educational resources from sources such as UNESCO and teachers are planning to use them in their classes as “multimedia supplementary resources”. At Rate they have been using educational videos in lessons.

Solar lighting assisting the training at Rate, as it was raining light was poor

Solar lighting assisting the training at Rate, as it was raining light was poor

Planning meeting held at Betivatu School

A planning meeting was held at Betivatu on 12th August between the project implementation team and the school and community. The purpose of the meeting was to engage with them through their Parent Teacher Association on important matters concerning the project.

Nine members of the school staff, Board Chairman and PTA members including women’s rep, reps from two villages and school reps attended. The visiting team included the David Leeming for the contractors and Elison Sau, SSEC Education Officer.

The purpose of the meeting was to promote strong local ownership of the project and solar installations by giving the school and community a chance to participate in the planning and come up with their own ideas on the management.

The meeting was opened by Elison and then David facilitated as follows:

  • Project briefing for the participants using a slideshow (which was also a useful demonstration of the potential use of AV materials in class)
  • Introduction to the proposed management structure and the draft School/Community agreement (MoU) for the PTA to review and give feedback and suggestions. Several hard copies given to the PTA to review.
  • Start thinking about strategies and policies for (a) security, (b) access, (c) extra-curricular use of the facilities, (d) energy conservation and (d) safety. These initial ideas will be further developed during the technical training.
  • Appoint a technical teacher and any other persons who they felt needed to receive technical training;
  • Finalise the installation plan and conduct technical survey and measurements

The PTA members will discuss and review the MoU and provide their inputs to the team in a few days.

At the meeting the installation plans were also confirmed. It was decided to install the classroom systems on each of the two blocks below, which have good storage rooms for the batteries and control panels. The two staff houses to have the solar power installed were agreed on, including the primary school Head Teacher’s house.

Primary classroom block and storage room

Primary classroom block and storage room

New JICA-funded secondary school classroom block

New JICA-funded secondary school classroom block

Two teachers were nominated as “technical teachers” to be trained. These were:

  • Exodus Bobotu, who is also a PTA Teacher’s Rep and teaches in the secondary school
  • Malachi Rubo, who is the School Chaplin and also a Teachers Rep on the PTA.

The participants raised the need for a second community technician, who should live nearby. They agreed to nominate someone later.

Preliminary visit to Betivatu school

On June 6th 2013, the contractors visited Betivatu Primary School to make a preliminary assessment of the site. We were accompanied by a representative from the SSEC Education Authority, under which the school is governed.

Betivatu is situated on the east side of Honiara, behind Tenaru. It is a combined primary and secondary school on one site. The location (green arrow) and Google Earth view is shown below:

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The site layout is shown below:

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We were assisted by the teachers, especially the head teacher of the primary school, Emily Panate, and secondary school Principal, Phillip Kela. We briefed the teachers on the project and then walked around the school.

Shown below is the view facing west with the blue-coloured primary school main classroom blocks behind. In the picture from right, are Emily, Phillip and David Iro (Willies Solar & Electrical).

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The view facing east, showing the grade 1 / home economic block and the new secondary school block, with some staff houses behind:

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The primary and secondary schools work closely together on an ambitious development plan. For instance, to the right in the picture above, is the site for a second new classroom block for the secondary school, and a science lab.

The schools share two PCs and half the teachers have their own laptops. They expressed great interest in the potential of the solar power for enabling educational technology and accessing resources.

Below is the main primary classroom block. It is in good condition for solar power installation. There are two blocks, both shown below:

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Closeup of the second classroom block, with storage and office rooms:

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The secondary school buildings include a new Japanese-funded double block under construction:

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The grade one classroom shares this building with the home economics room. The solar power may be useful for sewing machines, etc.

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Inside one of the classrooms:

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The other secondary school buildings, with the main office on the right:

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The school has good water and sanitation with separate toilets and tanks for girls and boys. However, there is no piped supply and there are difficulties during dry periods.

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