Students learn computer-building skills while fulfilling government requests

With many world governments facing cutbacks in the wake of the global economic crisis, it’s no wonder we’ve seen initiatives encouraging citizens to help out their country – such as Egypt’s Cairo Transport App Challenge, which we covered recently. Similarly, the SMKN 3 Mataram vocational school in Indonesia doesn’t have a budget to allow its computer engineering students to practice their skills on actual hardware, and is now taking building requests from regional authorities in exchange for the components.

Both the Mataram University and local government have offered funding to the college, as well as requests to build devices such as laptops, computers and LCD projectors. Students then get hands-on experience of building the equipment to a high standard, overseen by tutors. The products are then offered up to other educational establishments in the area to further aid teaching in other areas. Each product is inscribed with a serial number linked to its builder, meaning that if it breaks, it can be returned to the student, who can learn where they went wrong as well as how to go about repairing the device. Each unit takes around 15 to 20 minutes to put together, according to reports.

The scheme benefits the students – who get experience the school would otherwise not be able to give them – the authorities – who get to pay less for the work – and the recipients of the devices, who receive them at a subsidised price. Governments – could this work in your country?


Spotted by: Judy McRae

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