Thursday, 29 April 2010

School Visit

Yesterday was a Poya day which is the Buddhist celebration of the full moon, and reason enough for a public holiday! This is a shot of the moon rising over Tangalle Beach at about 6:20pm. You can see that my camera struggles with low light levels but the sun was going down rapidly and any later would have meant the picture was pitch black.

Today was a day for visiting a couple of schools. The first was a small rural school with five computers, two of which were broken, and the screen of another would only display half-height. The Internet had been disconnected a few months before because the school forgot to pay the bill, but no matter - the modem didn't work anyway! The IT teacher really was totally uninspiring and, so I'm told, got the job on the strength of having attended a 30-hour course. In contrast, the Geography teacher was keen and lively, spoke a little English, and had been on an exchange visit to a partner school in the UK. This is what ASL is mostly about - cultural exchange between Sri Lankan schools and English-speaking schools, usually from the UK.

The second school was this one shown above. Look carefully at the first photo - what's that in the background? The original school had been levelled by the 2004 Tsunami - literally levelled - and this fantastic new building was its solid replacement. The murals were amazing, I thought. There's a new computer lab up on the second floor, with air conditioning, sound, digital projector and everything, including ten donated computers. But only two worked. The story was that all the computers had been supplied without hard disks (a sensible data-protection policy) but, even though they'd managed to find newish hard disks, they couldn't connect to the motherboards without little adaptors, and they didn't have the money to buy them. Or the Head was waiting for a donation, or wouldn't sign a requisition. Whatever, there was some good reason for not having them.

I noticed that all the screws on the cases of the new hard disks were going rusty. Sea air, you see. But shouldn't the room's air conditioning fix that? Well, it would, if only the door wasn't left open! I suggested that they fit a door closer.

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