My African mission: CZ.NIC pairs delight as well as help Ethiopia

In the last year, CZ.NIC prepared for children pairs which include 32 themes connected with computers. While pictures are in every pair the same, their names are at one card in Czech and at the other in English. After the experience when these pairs were of use e.g. within the frame of a leisure-time club of English organized by the House of Youth and Children of Prague 9, I took the purely English variant to the Ethiopian school Halaba where I, as volunteer, teach children to work with computer within the frame of project supported by the Czech development agency.

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As early as before the departure I felt that the pairs could succeed in Africa, that they could help me to teach children the basic computer vocabulary. The reality, however, by far surpassed my expectations. The children were from the beginning captured by the pairs (the name of the game (in Czech) is derived from the Czech words “concentrate devilishly“) and they ask for them every time when there is a short while of leisure time. The teachers, however, also join the play with unvelievable enthusiasm.

Also Solomon Mulegeši, who is professionally engaged in the support and introduction of modern mothods of teaching and was the first headteacher of the elementary school Halaba Experimental School founded more than 10 years ago by People in Need which apply these methods, appreciated the pairs. In practice this means e.g. that in the classroom there are not 50 to 80 pupils as is common in Africa, but only around 30 like in the Czech Republic. Solomon likes in the pairs not only the teaching by playing of Komenský but also the training of one´s memory. The pairs would, in his opinion, easily be applied as a modern teaching material also in other subjects, such as chemistry or physics. Not only for African conditions, the advantage of our pairs is their version on a thick cardboard covered by lamino and round corners, the children can thus play them not only on the table or on the chair, but also on the ground.

The fame of pairs evidently spreads also outside the frontier of school – also the teachers of pupils are already interested in them. Who knows – the word of pairs (pexeso in Czech) might in the end be adopted in Africa and after the robot of Čapek, the Czechs will thus be able to attribute another contribution to the international dictionary.

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