Two US NGOs build Yamoransa Model ICT Lab for Betenase Community

By
Amadu Kamil Sanah, GNA

Betenase (Ash), Sept.
23, GNA – The Friends of Yamoransa and Helping Africa Foundation, both
non-profit organisations in the USA, have provided a model 48-seater computer
laboratory for the people of Betenase in the Ejura/Sekyedumase Municipality of
the Ashanti Region.

The lab dubbed:
“Yamoransa Model Lab-3 Project” which is set-up to enhance the teaching and
learning of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), English, Math and
Science also has a 4-seater Community Business Centre.

The facilities would
be used by over 8,000 school children in Sekyedumase and six other schools in
surrounding communities.

The communities are
Sekyedumase, Apaaso, Ayinaso, Drobon, Frante and Juaho.

It was established in
response to a social media post shared by Mr Richard Akoto Appiah, a teacher of
the Betenase M. A. School, exhibiting his teaching efforts in ICT.

Mr Appiah’s social
media post, which attracted global attention, showed a detailed drawing of
Microsoft Word on a blackboard, which he was using to teach his students.       

The scenario exhibited
by him indicated his passion for teaching and immense creativity to provide
vital knowledge to his students, even with the simple means available to him at
the time.

Dr Deborah Rose, the
President of Friends of Yamoransa, and Daniel Rose, Founder of Helping Africa
Foundation, in response and for their love for Computer Literacy Programmes
initiated and coordinated the funding for the project to enhance the teaching
and learning of ICT.

Dr Rose, in her
address said, the effort of setting-up these Model Labs began with a mandate by
the Ministry of Education, Ghana, to educate young in the emerging fields of
ICT, even when the technology itself was not yet widely distributed.

She said in April, a
young member of their team alerted her to a viral posting about Mr Appiah, a
teacher in Betenase who was using a detailed drawing of Microsoft on blackboard
to teach computing.

She said her love for
computer literacy touched her heart when she saw the post and that resulted to
the setting-up of this Model Lab and that it was not just about computers, but
education in the broadest sense.

“In the United States,
our educational philosophy embraces what we call general liberal arts
education, encompassing the humanities, the social and natural sciences, rather
than strictly technical or pre-professional training. This, we believe, is the
best preparation to become citizens of the world”.

She said their way of
working fits well within the United Nations framework of the Sustainable
Development Goals and satisfies several of its components that include:  asking communities to identify their greatest
needs; doing a needs assessment; developing a proposal for installing
appropriate technology; installation; training the teachers; teaching the
students; and evaluating the program.

“We also quickly
realized the importance of including multiple generations in our process such
as the elderly, working and young people.

Mr Japhet Aryiku,
Executive Director of Helping Africa Foundation, said the computer lab will
help residents in the area to become proficient in computing and this could
help with their job search efforts.

He said the lab would
not only benefit students in computing studies, but other subjects especially
English, Science, and Mathematics.

“Mr Ayiku said the
systems sort to embrace the overall curriculum of Basic Education, covering all
the subjects that the children need to learn”.

He said the Betanase
Lab was the third in series in three regions namely Yamoransa, Mallam and
Betenase in the Central, Greater Accra and Ashanti regions and intends to touch
many more communities across the country, adding that, “we are interested in
spreading “Rural Computing” throughout Ghana.

The Executive Director
said many people across the globe have never heard of Betenase, but through Mr
Appiah’s social media post on the internet has created opportunities for the
entire community socially and economically.

Mr Mohammed Salisu
Bamba, Ejura/Sekyedumase Municipal Chief Executive, thanked the Friends of
Yamoransa and Helping Africa Foundation for the kind gesture, and TECHAiDE for
installing their unique low voltage and robust computing technology, as it will
go a long way to benefit the entire municipality and promised to ensure that
the facility is used for its intended purpose and properly maintained.

Mr Patrick Ofori,
Ejura/Sekyedumase Municipal Director of Education, urged teachers to be
innovative by emulating the exemplary role of Mr Appiah and called on them to
creatively augment the limited resources provided by government by introducing
improvisation into their teaching.

In an interview with
the media, Mr Appiah said, the results yielded from his post was not expected,
adding that, “before this Model Lab, we had earlier received some laptops,
desktops and assorted items.    

He was thankful to
TECHAiDE, a technology social enterprise for installing the robust and low
voltage computers, educational software, e-resources including past questions
on the ASANKA device as well as the training provided for all the teachers in
the six communities and appealed to Government to take up the responsibility of
setting up ICT laboratories in all basic schools to ensure that children are
well introduced to technology and innovation.

The project is being
managed by IMPLEMENTERS, a project management non-profit firm, with its
technology partners; TECHAiDE, who have over 10 years experience in technology
projects globally.

GNA

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