By Travis Thompson
The Ponheary Ly Foundation’s tech ed program took a giant leap forward this December as crews installed the World Wide Web at Tchey School. PLF students are part of a very small group—only about 3% of Cambodians currently use the internet.
Since launching the internet at Tchey, only students in PLF media classes have been allowed to use it under teacher guidance. Some of these students had never been on a the internet before. Since most websites aren’t in Khmer language, students that don’t know as much English have especially loved the ever-growing Khmer language Wikipedia site. As our internet program develops, we’ll allow more students to start using it under teacher guidance.
The internet installation at Tchey is part of PLF’s goal of teaching students about the world outside their immediate surroundings, and also teaching them to reach out to the world to tell their stories through various media. That program is powered by extremely dedicated donors from around the world, and our two newly hired media education leaders Diana Gross and Sokha Khoun. The student media team has already been wildly successful, winning a $10,000 award in an international documentary project.
PLF originally launched the Tchey School computer lab in 2008. At that time, students learned on One Laptop Per Child laptops, but then progressed to Microsoft Office on new desktop computers. Earlier this year PLF added more desktop computers to the lab (for a total of 15), as well as the latest available media and Microsoft software.
“The young people who have participated in the computer program are better students all around. It has produced higher retention in secondary school and sharpened critical thinking skills,” PLF President Lori Carlson said.
The lab has come a long way in four years. Click the picture below to follow Carlson as she guided us through the computer lab construction zone at Tchey School in 2008.