Below is a snippet from Maurice Mkhotya’s (WorldReader Project Manager) Annual Report on the e-reader program in the Chamwino Secondary School.
The Worldreader Project was launched in July 2014 in Chamwino Secondary School in the School library. The main objective of the Project was to help building the reading culture of the Chamwino Secondary students and the Community Members of Chamwino Cultural Village. The specific objective being after one year 45% of students should be able to read by themselves all books written in English Language and Kiswahili Language which is a local language in Tanzania.
Therefore it was seen important by the initiator and sponsor of the Project Cindy Strong to begin the Project in Chamwino. The Project was seen as a strange technology in Chamwino at the beginning since many people thought that the e-readers were iPads out of which they can use them to chat on face book and whatsapp. Therefore many people were very much interested to use them. After I made it clear that the e-readers were not iPads, rather they contained digital books known as e-books or electronic books out of which people can read just like reading physical books, many people like students, teaching and non-teaching staffs, community members, local leaders and National leaders were very impressed by the Project. It is now recognized by the Government as one of the best reading ways which can influence a person to read for a long time without being tired.
To make that widely known I was invited to present about the Digital Reading during the National Week of Education which was held in Dodoma City. My day of presenting was 14th May 2015. The Tanzanian President JakayaKikwete was the Guest of Honor at the event. People were amazed and many were very interested. Practically Chamwino was seen as the place which will be very far in reading culture. Many Educational Officers were very interested and they wished to invite me to go to their places to train people on how to use e-readers. We raised the name of Chamwino District beyond the line of many other schools. Many said that Chamwino is now going to be the best cultural place influenced by reading culture by using digital reading.
Before the arrival of the e-readers students were not reading books in the library. Most of them would go to the library to borrow books which they would read within a short time and return. However students feared the library as if they would not be able to use it for reading inside. No chairs and tables were inside the library. There was only a teacher’s table to do the borrowing process. Teachers did not encourage students to read in the library. As a result students built the behavior of fearing the library.
After the arrival of 25 e-readers I had to use a psychological approach to make sure that students could develop a habit of reading in the library both physical and e-books. When it reached February 2015 the number of students increased to 230 students who were reading in the library per week out of 500 students. Different from August to December where we had 167 students out of 440 who were reading in the library. From February to May 2015 the number has raised from 250 students to 300 students out of 500 who would read in the library per week.