March 11, 2016
Written by FHI 360
Across the world, schools, parents, companies, donor organizations—including USAID Qualcomm, and local and national government agencies—are making significant investments to bring computer technologies and Internet access to schools to improve school management and education quality.
Buying and installing computer equipment in schools is relatively easy; however, using these resources to deliver better education is much more difficult. Additionally, sustaining these expensive investments and expanding access to computers so these investments continue delivering educational value over time is equally difficult. Unfortunately, many schools lack the staff capacity, management systems, or financial resources to sustain and grow these investments. For example, an informal survey of 10 schools in Central Java and five schools in Southern Sumatra revealed that up to 20 percent of the computer equipment that had been purchased over the previous two years was no longer operational. Also, while some of these schools had received Internet access through projects, nearly all of them had been unable to sustain their connectivity once the projects were over. The situation in these schools is probably similar in most public schools in Indonesia and those in other countries around the world.
To address this critical challenge, the FHI 360 team (formerly AED) collaborated with Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach™ initiative to develop the Computer System Sustainability Toolkit (Toolkit) to be used by school directors, teachers, and parent-teacher groups to develop actionable plans to sustain and grow their investments in computer technologies and connectivity. The Toolkit enables staff members from any public school to improve their capacity to sustain their school’s computer system. While school teams do not need to complete all of the recommended activities to gain some benefit from the Toolkit, the more Toolkit units that school teams complete, the more effective their efforts to sustain their systems will be. Also, some Toolkit activities depend on completing other activities first to gain the greatest benefit. These foundational activities are presented as the first steps toward achieving sustainability.