Monthly Archives: October 2013

Aruligo : early impacts and training in monitoring

The team visited Aruligo today, Wednesday 30th October, to conduct the training in the monitoring and backup system.

Explaining the daily solar monitoring

Explaining the daily solar monitoring

A session was held to explore how the school has been benefiting from the solar power already. Teachers reported that evening study has become a part of the daily programme.

For instance, the grade 6 (exam year) students have been studying in the evenings on a daily basis. This is unusual for a non-boarding primary school, and the teachers confirmed that most or all of the grade 6 students had been attending the evening studies. Lower grades, mainly 4 and 5, were also attending evening study but mostly those who live nearby. The extended use of the classrooms with availability of power is also attracting high school students and tertiary students, including those studying with USP, SINU and UPNG.

Teachers have also started innovating with ICTs in the classroom, for example presenting to students multimedia resources for social science and science. The school has prioritized the procurement of a projector. The team was able to provide a collection of open educational multimedia resources from UNESCO, regional organisations and other sources.

The solar power is also supporting teacher professional development. Most of the teachers at Aruligo are studying distance learning courses to advance their qualifications. The simple provision of reliable lighting in the evenings has made a big difference. One reason for this is that afternoons are often needed for chores such as collecting water during dry periods when rain tanks are empty.

The community has also used the solar power – church and PTA meetings are now convening in the classrooms in the evening.

 

Explaining the monitoring system

Explaining the monitoring system

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Improvements seen already at Titinge and Tenakoga

During the recent training held at Tenakoga and Titinge, teachers and members of the management committees and students were able to report some improvements that the solar power has brought already to the schools and communities.

Welcoming committee at Tenakoga

Welcoming committee at Tenakoga

At both schools, exam year students (Grade 6) have been using the classrooms for evening studies on a regular, almost daily basis. Furthermore, Form 3 and 5 secondary students from the neighborhood have also benefited with the opportunity to use the classrooms to study before their upcoming examinations.

At Titinge, a women’s livlihoods and economic development group has been using the school for meetings and training sessions. At Tenakoga, a Church group was able to work on their programmes. Thus, there are strong signs of positive benefits feeding to the local communities improving their engagement with the schools.

Miriam, a grade 6 student at Tenakoga delivering an excellent welcoming speech

Miriam, a grade 6 student at Tenakoga delivering an excellent welcoming speech

Miriam, a student at Tenakoga, gave a welcoming speech to the training team to share the students’ impressions of the new facilities:

On behalf of Tenakoga Primary staff and students I am honoured to welcome you to our school.
Our school is so very old, because it started in 1948. However, when we received the first beam of the solar light, it changes the whole outlook of the environment and the mindset of people. Tenakoga is like a town in the jungle of Guadalcanal. Everyone will agree with me that the solar for school project is our school’s pride.Thankyou UNICEF and NZAid for the generous donation. Without your enourmous support, solar light will be a dream that never comes true.”

Computer lab at Tenakoga

Computer lab at Tenakoga

At both schools the teachers are keen to develop ICT skills and resources and at Tenakoga, the teachers have already been organising in-service computer training using their one PC computer donated by students from the area who are studying in Fiji, with other friends of the community  The nearby secondary school has also benefited by using the power to create and print graduation certificates and produce video clips of students graduating. The school is in a quite remote rural location and without the availability of the facility this might not have been possible.

Likewise, when an Officer from their Adventist Education Authority visited the area recently, he was able to stop over at the school to work on the education programme, benefiting from the availability of power for his laptop and evening lighting, and did not need to return to Honiara, thus saving valuable time better spent working with the teachers.

Training session with the Tenakoga solar management committee

Training session with the Tenakoga solar management committee

Contractors David Leeming and William Iro during the welcome ceremony

Contractors David Leeming and William Iro during the welcome ceremony

 

 

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Solar monitoring training at Tenakoga Primary School

A successful training session was held today, Tuesday 29th October, at Tenakoga school. 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 record how the solar power is improving the environment for teaching and learning – educational impacts and activities supported by the solar power.

Learning how to record monitoring data for the solar power systems

Learning how to record monitoring data for the solar power systems

Contractor William Iro explaining a point

Contractor William Iro explaining a point

Tenakoga staff room fitted with solar, lights and fans

Tenakoga staff room fitted with solar, lights and fans

One of the solar power systems at Tenakoga

One of the solar power systems at Tenakoga

 

 

 

Solar monitoring training at Titinge Primary School

Training for the teachers in daily monitoring of a staff house system

Training for the teachers in daily monitoring of a staff house system

With the solar installation complete, training in monitoring the solar power was conducted today, 28th October, at Titinge Primary School by the contractors. The on-going project will monitor the performance of the solar power and the educational impacts. The monitoring process will be coordinated through the Ministry of Education and supported by a company contracted to provide backup services.

Grade six teacher in her classroom newly fitted with lights and fans

Grade six teacher in her classroom newly fitted with lights and fans

The management committee, teachers and community champions were trained to use a simple reporting format to record daily solar observations, periodic inspections and what to do if any faults were detected. Additionally, staff will record educational uses of the solar power.

Head Teacher and Deputy in their staff room with the newly installed solar power

Head Teacher and Deputy in their staff room with the newly installed solar power

One of the solar panel arrays installed on the roof

One of the solar panel arrays installed on the roof

 

 

 

Collecting solar monitoring data in real time by SMS

An app has been developed that allows schools in rural areas to report performance monitoring data from the solar power systems via SMS from Android phones. This is a facility that would benefit schools that have mobile coverage (any network) but there is no data coverage, or when the school has limited ability to access the Internet for other reasons.

data-by-sms-app

Project contractor David Leeming explained, “The second component of the system is a free SMS gateway that relays the structured text message with the data to an online database server. Anyone interested in the data can log on and view it. Once the data is in such a database, it is possible to manipulate it in any way that is required, for instance to display reports for specific parameters at each schools in graphical format. In this case, to demonstrate the concept we are using a free service called Magpi.”

“This is perhaps something for the future as we still need to ensure monitoring and backup support is as practicable and simple as possible. But, for instance, such methods would certainly help if the project is scaled up to a large number of sites”.

Data is received by an online database service where project staff and engineers can access it at any time

Data is received by an online database service where project staff and engineers can access it at any time

Lights on at Aruligo! Solar power installations well underway

The solar power installation work is well underway at Aruligo, as these images show. The main classroom block has been completed, with two fans and five powerful LED lights in each of the six  classrooms and in one of the two staff houses included in the project.

Lights and fans improving the environment for teaching and learning

Lights and fans improving the environment for teaching and learning

 

The main classroom block with 2500W of solar panels

The main classroom block with 2500W of solar panels

A staff house with 750W of solar panels

A staff house with 750W of solar panels

A control board of the solar installation

A control board of the solar installation

David Iro demonstrating the control board in a staff house

David Iro demonstrating the control board in a staff house

Installing the panel array

Installing the panel array

 

UNICEF Pacific representative visits Aruligo

UNICEF’s Pacific representative Karen Allen has paid a visit to Aruligo Primary School to view the progress with the solar power project. She was accompanied by officials from UNICEF’s Solomon Islands Field Office, the New Zealand High Commission and the contractors.

UNICEF Pacific's Karen Allen engaging with students and teachers at Aruligo

UNICEF Pacific’s Karen Allen engaging with students and teachers at Aruligo

Ms. Allen engaged a group of students in an interesting discussion about their studies and interests and explained the aims of UNICEF in reaching out to the children who are most in need, with such projects.

NZAid's Solomon Islands representative addressing the teachers and students

Anna Reid, Second Secretary (Development), NZ High Commission addressing the teachers and students