Sep 6, 2016

Cross your fingers, as Children wait for their exam results!

Children help unpack the library vans.
Children help unpack the library vans.

We’re crossing our fingers for the children who took their 2016 Basic Education Certificate Examinations (B.E.C.E.) in June. These are the exams that determine whether children attending basic schools in Ghana will progress to secondary school.

This year, thanks to your support, hundreds of children attending 20 schools in four regions of Ghana stand a better chance of passing their exams in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) - one of the eight compulsory subjects of B.E.C.E.  

Every week over the past six months, mobile libraries have been travelling to five schools in each region, bringing solar-powered laptops to give the children hands on computer practice. The laptops are pre-loaded with educational content that supports ICT learning and testing.

Just before the exams, we interviewed children at Abountem Junior High School near the town of Kumasi in Ashanti Region.

“Since the computers are here, I feel easy,” Esther told us.

Herbert wants to be a doctor one day. He is very aware that he will have to pass the B.E.C.E. to achieve his dream.

“I now feel more confident about doing the B.E.C.E. At first, using computers was difficult for me, but as time goes on it is easier – and I even have a Facebook account,” he said.

Teachers have been using the laptops to help the children prepare for their exams. Peter, an ICT teacher since 2007, knows what it is like to teach in a school that has no computers and limited learning materials. “The mobile library van is really helping. For example, it is quite difficult to teach children in abstract a simple subject like e-mailing, but now the children can go online and do it,” he said.

Now it is just a matter of waiting for the exam results, which will be released from September 12. Join us in holding thumbs for the children, and stay tuned for our next report, when we will be able to tell you how they fared.

Herbert, who wants to be a doctor one day.
Herbert, who wants to be a doctor one day.
Laptops help Esther with her ICT literacy.
Laptops help Esther with her ICT literacy.
Jun 9, 2016

'Having the computers is a huge help!'

Exam preparation - Kwaaso Junior High School.
Exam preparation - Kwaaso Junior High School.

Thanks to your support for the EIFL Hands on computer classes for 1,800 Ghana children project, many more children believe they will pass the crucial countrywide exams that start on 13th June, and which determine whether the children will progress to secondary school.

In May this year, we visited two schools that are taking part in the project, in which mobile library vans travel to 25 rural schools in four regions of Ghana bringing solar-charged laptops and Wi-Fi internet to give children hands-on computer classes. Since the project began in November 2015, 3,000 children have learnt essential practical skills - using the keyboard, Excel, Word, email and accessing the internet.

To reach the two schools, which serve farming families in Ashanti Region, the library van must travel for up to two hours over bumpy and rutted roads. The schools we visited have electricity, but it is not reliable, so during the library’s computer classes teachers are grateful to use library’s solar panels.

In each class, three to four children share a laptop. Teachers, supported by librarians, manage the classes carefully to ensure everyone has a turn to use the keyboard and mouse. The children we spoke to all believed they had a better chance of succeeding in their exams because of the classes. The teachers agreed:

“Having the computers is a huge help! The project has increased the confidence and class participation of students, especially one quiet and introvert girl who never spoke in class and who now participates in discussions and practicals during ICT lessons,” said Mr Peter Afrifa Bonsu, technology teacher at Abountem Junior High School.

Word about the project has spread to nearby communities: “Every week, parents move their children from other schools which are not benefitting from the project to my school. They want their children to have this opportunity to learn about technology and pass their exams,” said Mr Francis Pepra Boansi, headmaster of Kwaaso Presbyterian Junior High School.

'The computers are a huge help,' says Peter Bonsu.
'The computers are a huge help,' says Peter Bonsu.
The library van outside Kwaaso Junior High School.
The library van outside Kwaaso Junior High School.
Mar 10, 2016

Mobile library computer classes open up new worlds of learning for 3,000 Ghana children

Computer class - three children per laptop!
Computer class - three children per laptop!

“The project has increased attendance at schools – especially on the days of the mobile library visits – and the children participate fully because they can touch a computer,” said Mr Ofosu Frimpong, assistant mobile librarian, Ashanti Region, Ghana.

When we last reported progress the project had just started. The mobile libraries, equipped with solar-powered laptops and modem internet connections, had travelled to only five schools to give children the practical experience they so desperately need to pass their computer exams.

Now, just three months later, mobile libraries are regularly visiting 25 schools in four regions (Ashanti, Western, Upper East and Volta). The four mobile libraries have conducted a total of 95 classes, reaching over 3,000 children. That’s almost double the 1,800 children the libraries expected to reach! 

At all the schools teachers report increased attendance by pupils keen to use the computers: “The children are so eager to learn – their mind-set has changed with the exposure to computers. It has broadened their horizons – and we know they will be able to transfer their new skills to different environments,” said Ernestina Kantiono, senior library assistant, who travels to schools in the Western Regional Library van.

Teachers are working hard to make the most of the hands-on computer classes: “The teachers have started grading the pupils into groups according to their ability before delivering the lessons. This ensures efficient teaching and learning,” said Mr Frimpong.

The laptop computers have all been pre-loaded with educational content and e-books so that in addition to learning practical computer and internet skills, the children can use the laptops to study their school subjects and to practise reading. By popular demand, Volta Regional Library - the first mobile library in Ghana to offer mobile computer classes - organized reading sessions during the Christmas holidays, and the three other regional libraries plan to follow suit in future school holidays.

See the project in action on our You Tube video: http://bit.ly/20gnSNV

The internet opens up new worlds of learning.
The internet opens up new worlds of learning.
School attendance is up because of the computers.
School attendance is up because of the computers.
 
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