Indian peacekeepers in Malakal teach computer skills to pupils at Bander Primary School
Pupils at the Bander Primary School in Malakal have taken an important step towards “future-proofing” themselves: Indian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan recently spent a week of their time teaching some 65 boys and girls basic computer skills.
“I have touched and pressed buttons on a keyboard for the first time in my life and it was a great feeling. Knowledge is our key to success, and I am encouraging every one of us to take advantage of this opportunity, particularly in light of this high-tech age we are living in,” said a beaming Amou Chol, a 15-year-old girl, while demonstrating how to type in words and use the mouse.
The Bander Primary School, located in downtown Malakal, is still one of only a few learning institutions operating in the area, with many others having been destroyed during the civil war that broke out in December 2013.
Headmaster Philip Kuol appreciates the assistance provided to his school by various components of the peacekeeping mission.
“Its field office here has been supporting schools for some time, not least by renovation and paint work. Undertaking this computer training course is another amazing achievement which will greatly benefit our learners,” he said.
The training programme has been implemented by UN peacekeepers in co-ordination with the State Ministry of Education and the mission’s Protection, Transition and Reintegration Section.
Charles Okwir, an officer serving with the latter section, encouraged the participating boys and girls to practice their new skills as much and as often as possible.
“What you are learning here is extremely important, because the better you understand how to use computers, the more you will be able to find out what is going on not only here but also in the rest of the world and you can make informed decisions in life. I hope the spark we have given you has started a fire in your hearts to learn more and more,” he said, adding that he would be pleased to see some of them becoming computer scientists.
Time will tell whether Sunday Ador, another participant, will be one of them. If he won’t, it will not be because of a lack of new-found passion for mastering new technology.
“Now I have learnt about different types of computer software and how to use them. I’m keen to continue growing and developing in this field,” Sunday said.
To further fuel his fire, Sunday and his fellow students received computer study material as the course drew to a close. Their next challenge will be to find and open new doors leading to a brighter future.