Award boosts Kenyan links

A COLLEGE in Gloucestershire will soon be sharing its lessons with students in Kenya over the internet, with the help of a TES award for international partnerships.

Royal Forest of Dean College was among the first winners of our Make the Link awards in 2005, which were designed to foster connections abroad for schools and colleges. Now, the pound;5,000 prize money is helping the college to develop curriculum links with Kisumu Polytechnic in Kenya.

The college developed its partnership alongside local 11-16 schools, which are twinned with schools in Kisumu.

The idea of the internet link and sharing resources followed a visit by staff and students from Kenya in September. It highlighted the fact that Royal Forest of Dean College had a computer for each student, while at Kisumu Polytechnic 20 machines were shared among 2,000.

In December, college staff visited Kisumu to deliver 20 secondhand PCs and nine laptops, plus webcams. They had been donated to the charity Computers for African Schools and refurbished by students taking a first diploma for information technology practitioners, giving them hands-on experience of repairing computers. The college now plans to share resources for various courses, including IT, construction, catering and hair and beauty.

Students are making films and podcasts of lessons to put on the college's virtual learning environment and the college is also looking at how it can make its online resources accessible in Kisumu.

"I am proud that the college is involved in such a rewarding partnership,"

said Dawn Ward, Royal Forest of Dean's principal. "The students from both Kisumu and RFDC are learning valuable lessons from each other."

IT lecturer Nicky Jones said: "This tells our level 2 (GCSE-equivalent) students that somebody's using something they did. They are thrilled with themselves."

The college has previously run a range of curriculum projects for A-level students with schools in France, Germany, Denmark and Austria, and offers vocational students summer placements abroad.

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