SC State's Historical Impact on International Education

Monday, May 10, 2010

TLMP TeamDuring a recent honor ceremony, 15 SC State University officials were reminded of how their hard work and diligence created inspiration for thousands of African high school students through the Textbooks and Learning Materials Program (TLMP).

“This project has been the best example of teamwork,” said Dr. Leonard McIntyre, special assistant to the president for International Affairs and director of TLMP at SC State. McIntyre said he was reminded of a quote from Dr. Margaret Mead when he remarked, “the core leadership team of TLMP phase one was a small group of dedicated and committed individuals who set their minds to ensure that this project ended successfully.  Because of our work together as a team, we were able to not only meet the goals of the grant, but we exceeded them,” he continued.

The journey to educational history began in September 2005 when SC State University received a three year, $5 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to assist with the Textbooks and Learning Materials Program (TLMP).  A part of the Africa Education Initiative (AEI), the TLMP project is aimed at addressing the challenges associated with the lack of textbooks, and improving the educational opportunities of African students.

Under phase one of the TLMP project, SC State University faculty and staff members spent countless hours writing, reviewing and editing textbooks, ensuring they were presented in a way that the students could fully comprehend each subject area. In January 2008, University officials handed over 265,000 biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics textbooks, and other learning materials to His Excellency, Dr. Amani Karume, president of Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania. Within seven months, President George E. Cooper accompanied University officials to Zanzibar, this time delivering more than 648,000 textbooks.

To date, SC State University has developed, published and delivered more than 1.2 million textbooks and other learning materials to Zanzibar, and serves as a model for the African Education Initiative. Of the six universities involved in the TLMP project, SC State is the only University collaboratively working to produce textbooks and other learning materials at the secondary education level.

On Sept. 16, 2009, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) officially launched “Readers Are Leaders,” a video highlighting the work and achievements of the six universities involved in phase one of the TLMP project. Through the portrayal of SC State’s notable work, the University won the 2009 Silver Telly Award. The Telly Award, produced by R.S. Owens & Company, which also makes the Oscar Award, honors the very best local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions.

“Before the TLMP project, the students of Zanzibar were using outdated educational resources.  The most recent textbooks were from 1969 (chemistry), 1972 (physics) and 1980 (biology).  There were not any mathematics textbooks in the classrooms,” noted Lamin Drammeh, program manager for TLMP. “The reality after phase one is that the students are more upbeat and confident knowing they now have current educational materials that are culturally relevant, research-based, and fully aligned with the national curricula.”

The significant work of SC State officials made a tremendous impact on Zanzibar’s educational system, so much in fact that the student to textbook ratio changed from 1:40 to 1:1, the first time in the history of Zanzibar. Additionally, the secondary schools in Zanzibar have experienced a significant increase in enrollment, and more students are excelling in and out of the classrooms.

When asked about his feelings regarding the new biology textbook, Iliyasa Suleiman, a student at Lumumba Secondary School in Zanzibar, said “yes, I like it so much because it is so attractive.  When you look at the cover, you will see that there is a good picture.  The textbook is very simple, clear and straightforward,” Suleiman exclaimed.

“I was so impressed as I had a chance to visit Zanzibar and it was almost teary to hear the testimonials from students who had received textbooks during the handing over ceremony,” expressed President George E. Cooper during the honor ceremony.  “To hear the students saying how appreciative they were to us for providing textbooks that were current, relevant and useful made me feel proud, and you have to feel proud also,” Cooper said to the honorees.

During the ceremony, McIntyre and Drammeh presented President Cooper with the Certificate of Excellence from Dr. Karume for the University’s outstanding contribution to the TLMP project.  He also received an honorary plaque of appreciation. The TLMP program advisory committee and other faculty and staff members who were honored include: Deborah Blacknall, grant administrator/officer; Dr. Helen Brantley, assessment and evaluation specialist; Dr. Bessie Cooke, language arts specialist; Jonona Govan, fiscal analyst for TLMP; Dr. Albert Hayward, lead biology writer; Dr. George Hicks, language arts specialist; Elbert Malone, lead chemistry writer; Samuel McDonald, lead mathematics writer; Dr. Linda McIntyre, assistant program manager and curriculum specialist; Gwendolyn Mitchell, grants coordinator; Franklin Robinson, lead physics writer; Erica Taylor, director of University Relations and Marketing; Andreal Robinson, administrative assistant for TLMP; and Dr. Ronald Speight, illustration and graphic design and curriculum specialist.

For the next three years, SC State will continue its educational impact through a $13 million grant awarded in September 2009.  Under this grant, the SC State team will produce textbooks and learning materials for Mainland, Tanzania.