In spring of 2013 His Excellency Mr. Nicolas Sehnaoui, Minister of Telecommunications, was eager to make the Raspberry Pi available to Lebanese children. Mr. Maher Hassanieah, advisor to HE at the time, played a key role in assessing the Raspberry Pi initiative and its launch. After the initial period of research Minister Sehnaoui established the initiative in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education with the aim of piloting a Raspberry Pi lab at a public school in Lebanon. The school selected was Dhour Shweir Secondary Public School. As part of this effort, Minister Sehnaoui donated the funds needed via a donation to the Mona Bustros Foundation for IEA to purchase 50 Raspberry Pi units for use as part of the initiative. For its part, IEA supported the initiative by providing an in-kind donation in the form of teacher-training
and ongoing technical support. The end result was a formal collaboration between the Mona Bustros Foundation, IEA, and the Dhour Shweir Secondary Public School which was fully equipped with 30 Pi stations (screens, keyboards etc.). In May 2013 the Raspberry Pi Lebanon initiative was formally launched under the auspices of by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Ministry of Telecommunications in a ceremony attended by the teachers and students of Dhour Shweir, the Minister of Education, Dr. Hassan Diab and the mayor of Dhour Shweir, Mr. Elie Bou Saab. You can read press coverage here and here (Arabic)
During the following academic year IEA worked directly with the two teachers at the Dhour Shweir school providing technical support and training them on collaborative education models so that they were able to empower and leverage the considerable technical talents available amongst the student body. The program was offered during school hours when students worked on Scratch projects and later on Python programming projects. Teachers reported that student motivation was extremely high with many students continuing to develop and research aspects of their projects after hours and at home. IEA mapped these first steps and conducted follow-up visits to monitor and support the fledgling program. The students and teachers were able to showcase their work for the school and wider community when they conducted the first Scratch Day event in Lebanon held at the school in May 2014.
For a detailed overview of the origins of the Raspberry Pi initiative in Lebanon please see, “Syria's children learn to code with Raspberry Pi” by Aleks Krotoski in the Guardian Newspaper on Saturday 26 July 2014.