Is saturday afternoon, weather is hot as usual. No students are around since is not a normal school day, the school is just like the other school located in rural area, old and simple setup, but not until you see the network infrastructure hidden inside the school.
When I step into the 3 story building, and pass by the admin office, there is no teacher in the office but a few student happily using the computer in the office, surfing internet, playing mp3 songs...
I went into the headmaster office, the headmaster--Mr. Tiong is on his way back to the school. Tiong turn his office into a server room and computer repair lab. Networks cables, switches, computer motherboard, lying around the room everywhere, a student is working on a motherboard, try to fix the hardisk problem... The students are self-discipline. I just practise what they do in the repair lab, I take a can of soft drink from the refrigerator, and drop my money into a collection box, all self-discipline.
Tiong came back about 20 minutes later and show me around the school. The school have 800 students, 140 computers, students pay a minimum fees of 120 per year, they are allow to use the computer freely. There are 6 laser jet printer, students can print (50 pages per student) from any of these computers, because they are all network together. I pass by the science lab, and peak through the windows, each bench of the lab was setup with a PC there.
Even though I know this school is well equipted with networking, is unbelievable until you see with your own eyes. The server room, with 24 hours of aircond supply, is the main gateway connected to the internet through 2 Mega bits ADSL line. There is about 400+ network jacket distributed around the school, connected through cables and fiber optics, they have wireless network access too! Each students have their own email account, many of the students know how to intall software, repair PC and clamp network cables. Tiong told me the server room network is setup by the students.
The students here learn how to use office application, internet, even programming like C and Java, one of the students show me the books that they used in their IT courses. There are technical classes which have more intensive computer courses, about 20 student per class, each can access internet at all time, so they can check information from the internet during lecturing time. There is another few more (newly build) computer rooms, is still under construction, but expect to be ompleted in about 1 to 2 months time. All the funding came from donations and computer fees collected from the students.
Mr. Tiong show me their School Management System(SMS). All student records, report cards, are uploaded into the computer database and online. Parents can check their children's results and the attendence list at home through internet. The school have a library modules (software system) which record all books borrowed by the students, is all computerize.
When I go back to the school after dinner, I saw a few of the student are helping Mr. Tiong, tracing the network problem, they will stay over night in the school, because they are going to Ipoh to attend some event on the next early morning. Tiong shows me the presentation material that he is going to train the students on basic knowledge about computer hardware, I run through those material, is good.
I ask Mr. Tiong, why he is doing all these things? Beside of interest, he want information to be access easily to every students in the school. What else I can say about this, I heard of many school want computerize, but not many succeeded. Is not just about vision and funding, is the implementation and consistency to make it into a success. I leave the school on Sunday, and I will visit the school again in near future.
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