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The white sand and crystal blue waters of Vanuatu will again be classrooms for TAFE NSW IT students in 2019.
The students of TAFE NSW ICT courses will be heading to Espiritu Santo to install a solar-powered generation system and 10 low-powered computers at a school. The project is an on-going partnership between TAFE NSW and Upper Blue Mountains Rotary Club to install computers in under-privileged schools in Pacific countries.
When on a study tour to the Pacific, TAFE NSW students even teach computer skills to the school staff and students. But, says TAFE NSW Head Teacher of IT and Business, Colin Tyrrell, they gain more than they give, including invaluable real-world IT experience.
“Every year I take the students to Vanuatu and without a doubt it’s always an exciting, yet humbling experience for the TAFE NSW team,” says Colin.
“This year the students will be installing computers at Mwast Primary School. While we’re on the island we’ll also be servicing previous installations.”
Colin says that most of the school students and some of the local teachers won’t have any experience using a computer before.
He says having access to computers extends the educational support for Vanuatu students and teachers. Each computer will be equipped with Microsoft Office and other educational software, which will help strengthen the numeracy and literacy skills. Providing local students with access to computers and programs will enhance the employability of the students.
Tania Duncan is studying the Certificate IV in IT Support, and can’t wait for the trip to start.
“To me, this trip is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something incredible. TAFE NSW and Rotary have done an amazing job organising everything so far - I would definitely encourage future students to apply,” says Tania.
“I have no doubt the trip is going to be amazing and I’m looking forward to learning some valuable IT skills and also helping the Vanuatu community.”
TAFE NSW IT students are funded by the Australian Government’s Endeavour Leadership Program (ELT) which provides $2,500 per student to offset airfare, accommodation and insurance.
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