Eleuterio Elang Okpwe, coach in Equatorial Guinea
“The world is undergoing a change with regard to new technologies and I believe that education cannot be left behind”.
Eleuterio Elang is ProFuturo’s coach in Equatorial Guinea. At the age of 16, he travelled to Spain, where he completed his secondary education and vocational training. After specialising in computer science, he returned to his homeland, with which he was reunited and which he confesses he fell in love with again.
Eleuterio realised early on that it was possible to combine two of his great passions: computing and teaching: “Although I am a computing teacher, when I lived in Spain I realised that another passion of mine was teaching. Through the Spanish Red Cross, as a volunteer, we started setting up computer courses for immigrants with few resources”
Little by little, “Ele” went deeper and deeper into the world of education and teaching. In his time at a school where the computer room was not working properly despite having the infrastructure to do so, he sought a solution to make the most of it. “I asked the head teacher if we could do something. That’s how I started the journey of setting up the computer room so that the children could see computers at an early age too and so that they could start high school knowing how to use them”
ProFuturo’s arrival in Ele’s life
“Suddenly, I heard about ProFuturo and I didn’t hesitate to ask for a dossier. I quite liked the approach and we started with it,” says Ele, also commenting on the importance and necessity of the project’s arrival in the country, being the first of its kind on a large scale.
“The world is undergoing a change with regard to new technologies and I believe that education cannot be left behind in this.” Ele therefore believes that it is essential to work with teachers on educational innovation and that they should rely on new educational models and technology to make the most of it.
“It allows you to incorporate local and third-party resources for better adaptation to local contexts and learning. ProFuturo also provides solutions to Internet connection problems, one of the main problems here in Africa.”
The role of the educational coach
“My profile is that of a coordinator/coach. There are 9 of us in total in the country and we are the eyes, ears and the extension of ProFuturo on the ground,” explains Ele. In his work as a coach, he stresses the importance of training teachers properly because, as he points out, it is often necessary to map out the right paths for the implementation of technology in the classroom.
“It is clear that technology facilitates new methods of teaching and learning. However, care must be taken to embrace technological change as an end rather than a means. Therefore, it is sometimes dangerous to understand educational innovation if we simply put technological tools in the hands of teachers without having trained them beforehand, as often happens. That’s where I come in as coordinator.”
“Technology is a medium that must always be associated with very clear educational purposes, which offer meaningful and in-depth learning. Hence, our work is mainly focused on prior training of the teacher.We focus on the teacher to achieve empowerment.“
Technology as a source of motivation
Ele believes that technology in education is a key motivating factor for children. In the schools where Ele works with ProFuturo, he reveals that the implementation of the project also results in increased attendance: “Many of them said they wanted the week to go by quickly so that they could get the ProFuturo class.”
This confirms that innovative teaching and learning measures definitely succeed in capturing children’s attention in class and reducing absenteeism by giving them a bigger role in their own learning process. “They are more involved in their own training because the classes are more productive, dynamic and interactive.”
As a final conclusion, Ele states: “This is the message we want to get across to the children so that they don’t get lost, to try to rescue them from the street in this changing society. The teacher’s work is always key in this respect to bring them back into a good orbit.”