Archive for the 'KCN' Category

The challenges of Neo-Imperialism

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Last year, when I discussed with my partners a possible investment into another ICT project in Malawi, we aimed to offer the opportunity to an African School to run and build up a computer network, consisting of newest hardware, with its own responsibilities and competence. We were curious to see and learn, at what point an African School is capable to do so. Therefore we decided to send ICT equipment with the simple agreement that the project technicians will just have to document and communicate. Further we decided not to send instructors and conductors but to shift the costs into financing the hardware. This would allow the local project technicians to present their skills and proficiency.

Meanwhile 10 months have passed and our office only received very few and scarce information after putting pressure onto the responsible person. Even the Director of the school, who continuously confirmed his commitment, did not feel the necessity informing our office for months.

The roots of colonialism still seem to keep the Malawian culture in its strong hands and projects only are successfully realised imposing and dictating western measures and skills, whereas a Malawian expects his begging culture to be nurtured.

Almost one year has passed, many deadlines and announcements that were set by the IT technicians gone by without notice and result. A day ago I learned that the technicians are finally installing the thin client terminals and are facing the challenges of getting PS2/USB adapters for mice and keyboards. This shows the poor level of competitiveness and exemplifies why the western economies won’t have to fear competition for the next century. The mechanism of western leadership and exploitation is not endangered.

One could say that another development project in Africa has failed and money has been wasted. But to us the gain of learning at what point the Malawian ICT culture is evolving, is priceless!

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lab network installation pictures

Friday, October 28th, 2011

these are the pictures i promise i will upload on the computerlan

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The final stages of the Thin-client Project

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

things are sounding, if at all that expression exists. our network guys are busy finalising networking the computerlab, when the network is finalise later today or tomorrow morning the thin-client will be set into the computerlab reaching their final destination waiting for the students to use them, i will upload pictures and a video of the lab later in the day, in my next post.
The plan is we will do two tests on the thin-client from the lab one tomorrow and the other one on Monday 31 october.
IT Point sent us the power adpters for the WYSE thin-clients, which were not a complete set, they did not have power plugs, these delayed us a bit since our procurement officer went at local suppliers insearch of the compatible power plugs for the adapters. we have found a few power plug, but we will proceed in setting the thin-client with the plugs we have

Delivery of Computer lab Accessories

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Hi again,
Am feeling anxious as accessories will be coming on KCN this coming week. we will start with furniture which will probably be in by monday 26th of September 2011, these furniture are basically computer desks and chairs and also steel bars for security of the computer lab.

On tuesday or wednesday we are expecting the network accessories to be in and we are already have prepared for network installation. the Computer lab network diagram have already been drawn by our network team.
Things are sounding good at the moment.

to side track a bit, last week lecturers at KCN were being trained how to use Curriculum management system (CMS) built on moodle. it was an exciting event were lecturers create e-resources and link them to CMS from a network folder

Procurement Suppliers Chosen

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

The procurement committee at Kamuzu College of Nursing met and evaluate the the bid for the supply of monitors, keyboard, network accessories and computer desks

different suppliers applied for the bids according to their specialization.  The bid was divided into 3 sections

  1. Monitors and Keyboards
  2. Network
  3. Furniture
    • 4 seat desks (10)
    • 40 chairs

Finally 3 suppliers were identified for the 3 categories, the procurement officer has estimated 10 days for the items to be delivered, but i will get a clear picture after contacting the suppliers themselves

Once the items arrived then we will install the Thin-clients together with the monitors in the chosen computer lab.

KCN thinclient project

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

computer lab viewICT is considered a critical tool in preparing and educating students with the required skills for the global workplace. It educates students so that they can continually adapt to a work world of continuous technological innovations and makes it easier for students to access knowledge. ICT is regarded as an engine for growth and tool for empowerment, with profound implications for education change and socio-economic development.
Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) is a constituent college of the University Of Malawi (UNIMA) which has two campuses in Lilongwe and Blantyre, separated by a distance of about 300 kilometres, and major clinical sites in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu. Traced back from 1965 when it was called a National School of Nursing, and then upgraded to a full constituent college in 1979, the college has been offering a variety of courses in the fields of Nursing and Midwifery.

KCN has an intake of students 120 every year, and it will increase to 200 students enrolled this year, as far as KCN is increasing intake it has challenges of resources in which it has, one of them being access to computers. KCN has two computer lab in Lilongwe, one 20 seater lab and the other 45 seater lab. It also has a 20 seater computer lab in Blantyre 300 Kilometers away. Due to student congestion and scramble for use of the few computers, the college thought it wise to seek help to Alex Antener who, together with the support of e-vision (founded by AG) and IT point, was providing 40 thin client computers and servers.
This project is being named “Exterminate all the brutes”, currently the servers and thin-clients were bought and delivered to Kamuzu college of Nursing. The servers were mounted on the rack, and Ubuntu was installed on them with LTSP service inbuilt, the service was tested and works perfectly.
Currently the Network accessories and the monitors are being procured by the college.

In my next blog I will do a technical step by step on how we installed Ubuntu and LTSP in IBM servers

Here are some pictures of KCN campus and a few key people around:

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Direct Link

Preliminary report (Lx on KCN)

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Since the shipment of the LTSP servers and thinclients by IT Point in April 2011, the ICT staff of the Kamuzu College of Nursing in Lilongwe, Malawi, has been preparing the project under my guidance. This included assembling different knowledge and information sources to prepare a technical guide and full documentation for the GNU/Linux based LTSP system.

After the shipment was collected from the local tax authorities in Lilongwe, the order of the screens for the workstations was prepared, which had to be validated by the Universities directorate. Meanwhile the ICT staff have successfully installed the servers and the flat panel console kit in the rack of the ICT department and installed the core system, testing it with one client.

The system is now ready to be fully connected with all clients and to be introduced to the Students, as soon as the monitor order has been delivered and the network installation is setup. The principal will then, presumably by end of August 2011, launch and release the new system to the Students.

Friday report on KCN project

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

1.  I am implementing a Curriculum Management system using Moodle, which involves conducting lots of training to lecturers, in creating resources and uploading information into the CMS at the same time training students on how to use the resources. the CMS is currently running on the intranet, but i have just created  sub-domain for it, and its propagating around dns as i speak, it will be up by tomorrow, i will sent you a link for you to take a look. I have attached some of the photos i took on the training session, one is a workshop for the lecturers and the other is for the students.

2. Student management system – i developed this system and implemented it early last year, the lecturers met and came up with new requirement for the system, so i went back to the drawing board and modified the system, now the new version has just been deployed with a mobile module also and its been tested live during this exam period. here is the link to the system

3. High Definition Video conference equipment using mini-sip (an open source software), we bought video conference equipment, since as i told you before we are a multi-campus college, one in Lilongwe another in blantyre. To minimize cost we used an open source software which was under development by KTH university in Sweden, it has been a long process of testing the equipment and the flexibility of the software in low bandwidth.

am on the second phase, where i have set the clients in both campuses, i have created a tunnel between the two campuses and am doing some several tests on that tunnel. just to take note previous tests where from here to Sweden, now the tests am doing are just within the two campuses, later it will be roll out in full, to be used for the masters programmes here.

4. catering system for the student cafe. i have developed a small system, merged with student management system which uses barcode and generates meal coupons. this was to ease the chaos which was happening to the cafe, with finance not knowing how many students have taken food, and where just bombarded with huge invoices from the out sourced caterer. so the system provides real-time statistics on how many students have actually taken the food. The testing phase is done and the system will be deployed this coming week. i will furnish you with pictures on how the system is working.

5. KCN Digital repository, i am working hand in and with Thomas Bello assistant librarian, the guy you saw me with on skype chat, in creating a digital repository using DSPACE, we are setting up dspace from source

6.  Google technology user group (GTUG), i am also involved (i can say one of the organizers) in GTUG where we utilize google technologies in our institution, the group comprises of IT guys from different organisations and we create events and workshops in teaching some of the technologies that google uses. just some 3 weeks ago we organised a workshop which occured right here at KCN, on writing applications in android, in readiness of a certain competition that Google organised

These are some of the projects are am doing currently and i will give you more details later on

ICT sysadmin

Photo gallery

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

The “KCN 2011 photo gallery” has now been launched, where KCN will periodically publish new photos to document the current project.

The above photo shows the ICT sysadmin beeing busy with the new Flat Panel Console Kit 😎

Delivery of servers & thinclients

Friday, April 8th, 2011

After having paid the quotation of IT Point Systems AG, the two servers and the 40 thinclients are now on the way to Lilongwe, Malawi. After 2 to 3 weeks the ICT staff of the KCN will collect them at the airport LLW from the customs authorities. 😎