Church Leaders, Educators Trained to Use ‘SmartBox’

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Participants at the Smartbox workshop.

Several church leaders and educators have acquired knowledge on how to operate “SmartBox,” an innovative computer technology that addresses challenges faced by students in developing countries.

The training was held on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, in Congo Town, outside Monrovia. It was organized by the Harris Educational Foundation, a local educational institution working to promote basic business entrepreneurial skills.

SmartBox does not require electricity and internet for operation. It contains several software programs that provide the user, especially a student, with a vast collection of academia contents sent via wireless to the laptops.

Additionally, it is configured in English, Spanish and French and can be used by students in the absence of qualified teachers; it is also a learning resource for teachers.

Shadrach Geetar of Innovative Educative Liberia (IEL), who facilitated the training, told the Daily Observer that the SmartBox has made a tremendous impact on the educational system since its inception.

He said that students in Sinoe County have improved their performances in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) as a result of using the ‘SmartBox,’ a claim which authorities at the Ministry of Education are yet to confirm.

Geetar said that the ‘SmartBox’ is currently being used in 11 schools in Sinoe County, with so many students learning how to use the computer. In fact, students are thought to have gained proficiency in Mathematics, the Sciences, and in other subject areas.

He said that their educational initiative in the country is meant to spread the legacy of a late scholar, Samuel Morris, a native of Sinoe, who escaped death from warriors in his home town in 1883 and later traveled to the United States where he became a missionary.

He said the late Morris dreamed of returning to Liberia to help his countrymen to access education and get converted to Christianity. But Morris’ dream was not realized until he took sick and died at age 20 in the U.S. while sharing the message of Christ.

According to him, due to the sincere devotion of the late Morris, missionaries in the U.S. have promised to support education in Liberia in his memory.

He added that the program is transforming the lives of many young people in Sinoe in the areas of agriculture and other trades.

“The program is empowering many young men and women in careers to become productive citizens,” he said.

The IEL team leader said that his institution is encouraging more schools in Liberia to access the ‘SmartBox,’ but said that it is expensive. And as such, it would be expedient if the government can invest in the ‘SmartBox’ in order to get many schools to access the program.

William Bruce of the Harris Educational Foundation whose institution benefited from the training said that they intend to market the ‘SmartBox’ by partnering with other institutions to educate their members to improve their business skills.

Bruce said that they are also going to partner with schools in the country to prepare students for the WAEC exams.

“This SmartBox is highly important for students in rural areas that lack access to electricity. We are working with the MoE to understand the importance of the equipment so as to reach many schools,” he said.

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