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More Than a Typing Class

Lebanon, April 23, 2002

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    Lebanese boys learn computer and internet skills. Photo: Mercy Corps Lebanon Photo:

Through a collaborative effort between Schools Online (SOL) and Mercy Corps, twelve rural public schools in Lebanon have Internet Learning Centers and over 9360 students will be able to be trained on computer literacy and collaborative learning on the Internet

In January 2001, SOL and Mercy Corps agreed to team up on the pilot effort. Two months later, the team met with Ms. Hariri, the President of one of the largest charitable organizations in the country, the Hariri Foundation, and government officials. The Foundation agreed to support the effort and introduced the team to a consortium of IT providers including Compaq, Microsoft, Cisco and Eduware. Thanks to the persuasiveness of Ms. Hariri, the consortium offered to provide highly discounted hardware, software and training. The Minister of Education also gave his blessing and named a point person to help coordinate with the schools.

Based upon a list of public schools provided by the Hariri Foundation, Mercy Corps conducted the necessary fieldwork interviewing school officials on a range of matters including student population, classroom space, curricula, and teacher capability/interest. In the end, it was determined that two schools from each of the six Cazas (or districts) in Lebanon should participate in order to assure geographic and sectarian balance – always an important consideration in the country.

As a critical component of project, 24 teachers completed the first level of training in February 2001. The teachers are expected to complete the second level of training by the middle of March 2002.