Jul 12, 2019

Exam time! Good luck to all our students!

Using the computers to practise and study.
Using the computers to practise and study.

It’s exam time again in Ghana! Children across the country - including almost a thousand lucky students who learnt practical computer skills through the EIFL Hands-on Computer Classes project - sat for their Basic Education Certificate Exam (B.E.C.E.) in June.

Over the last quarter, regional libraries have been travelling to under-resourced and rural schools in four regions of Ghana (Ashanti, Upper East, Volta and Western) in vans equipped with laptops and modem internet to give the children vital hands-on computer practice and to help them prepare for their exams. 

The librarians are positive that their young students will pass. Without this technology, provided with your donations through GlobalGiving, the children would only have learnt about computers in the abstract. Now they can confidently identify different parts of a computer; they can use the keyboard and type, and they know how to connect to the internet, to use search engines like Google and to communicate through email. 

From March to June, the libraries reached over 2,570 children in Grades 1, 2 and 3, and conducted 240 ICT classes at 16 junior high schools. Class time was also dedicated to improving the children’s proficiency in other school subjects, using curriculum-based content preloaded to the laptops. To practise for the B.E.C.E. Grade 3 children answered past exam papers that were also preloaded to the laptops.

Ashanti Regional Library has been using the laptops in ICT classes for youth at weekends. “We had 37 children at the first lesson, and the number has been increasing each week,” said the regional librarian.

In their classes, Volta Regional Library includes 30-minute sessions in which children read aloud from the laptops to improve their literacy skills. They have also been using the laptops in quizzes. “We award prizes to the best performing students and the best performing groups,” said the regional librarian. 

In Western Region, word about the success of the library’s Hands-on Computer Classes has spread and three more schools have asked to be included. “We’re looking at the best ways of including them,” said the regional librarian.

Thank-you again for your support - and watch out for our next report, when we’ll bring you the results of the 2019 B.E.C.E!

Proud student demonstrates his computer knowledge.
Proud student demonstrates his computer knowledge.
Librarian and teacher at work in Volta Region.
Librarian and teacher at work in Volta Region.
May 9, 2019

Hands-on computer classes are changing lives!

Successful learners - Mary and Cliff.
Successful learners - Mary and Cliff.

We’re happy to bring you stories about two successful students of the Ghana public library Hands-on Computer Classes project. Both children passed the Basic Education Certificate Exam (B.E.C.E.) with excellent grades, and have progressed to secondary school. The project, in which mobile libraries packed with equipment travel to under-resourced schools to conduct practical computer skills classes, helped them pass the subject ICT (computers and the internet).

Cliff from Ashanti Region, achieved a Grade 1 pass for his ICT exam in 2018. He is now a student at Adu Gyamfi Senior High School, where he is concentrating on the subject General Science - his dream is to become a medical doctor. Cliff’s family cannot afford a home computer, and the hands-on computer classes have had a great impact on his life. During the gap between basic school and secondary school, he was able to get a job at an internet café. “I could be productive in my holidays, help others - and earn some money,” he said.

Mary, from Upper East Region, scored a Grade 2 pass in ICT, and is now at Bongo Senior High School. “What I liked most about the library’s weekly classes was learning to use the internet. I now have an email address, I can go into my in-box and receive messages from friends, relatives and teachers. Thank-you for helping me pass my B.E.C.E!” said Mary.

The four regional public library vans have been off the road for a short while, for much-needed refurbishing and maintenance. Newly painted bright green, and packed with solar-powered computers and modem internet bought with your support, the vans will start travelling to schools again in May 2019.

Children from poor and rural areas who fail the B.E.C.E. - the exam that determines progress to secondary school - often drop out because their families cannot afford to keep them in school. In 2018, 85% of the children who attended the libraries’ practical computer skills classes passed ICT in the B.E.C.E. In 2015, when the project started, the average pass-rate was just 45%.

“I can proudly say that ICT was the subject with the highest and best grades in the B.E.C.E in 2018,” said a teacher from Western Region, Ghana.

Newly painted and ready to go!
Newly painted and ready to go!
Feb 13, 2019

Top marks for Hands-on computer classes project!

Practice makes exams easier! Class in Ashanti.
Practice makes exams easier! Class in Ashanti.

In 2018, a record 847 children who attended public library hands-on computer classes in poor and rural areas of Ghana passed technology (ICT) in the Basic Education Certificate Exam (B.E.C.E).

“I can proudly say that in 2018 ICT was the subject with the highest grades in the B.E.C.E. The project has transformed the children to become computer literates!” said the Head Teacher at Aboadze Catholic Junior High School in Western Region.

The average pass rate in 2018 marks a high-point for the Hands-on computer classes project: in 2015, when the project started, the average pass rate was just 45%; in 2016 it was 65%, in 2017 it grew to 81%, and in 2018 it was 85%.

These results are a tribute to your generous support through GlobalGiving. They are also a tribute to four years of hard work by regional librarians who, every week, travel long distances over rough roads to 20 schools bringing laptops and internet to give thousands of children hands-on experience of computers. Because textbooks are scarce, the laptops are pre-loaded with educational materials, so that the children also have the opportunity to study other school subjects.

The 847 children who passed in 2018 are from schools in Ashanti, Upper East, Volta and Western Regions.

“When we can practice, the examination becomes very easy because we always remember what we practice! The library’s classes have also helped us students to do online research - and to acquire more information about what we are taught in class,” said a student from Western Region.

Thank you again for your support. Now let’s see if we can achieve even better results in 2019.

Computer class in action, Ashanti Region.
Computer class in action, Ashanti Region.
The librarians and teachers who conduct classes.
The librarians and teachers who conduct classes.
 
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