Education
 Ghana
Project #13333

Hands on computer classes for 1,800 Ghana children

by EIFL
Beatrice, who plans to become a doctor.
Beatrice, who plans to become a doctor.

Mobile libraries are on the move in three regions of Ghana, taking solar-powered laptop computers pre-loaded with digital books and educational resources, and modem internet connections, to under-resourced schools to give struggling students hands-on computer classes.

For many of the children this was their first experience of computers.

“This was my first time using a computer - and it was a bit difficult,” said Beatrice, a student at Archbishop Amissah Junior High School in Western Region. Beatrice is determined to excel in her computer classes because she wants to be a doctor when she grows up: “Computers will help me with research online, for example, about chemicals,” she said.

Another first-time learner is Erica, who is confident that computers will help her in her chosen career: journalism. “As a journalist I will be able to get a lot of information through the internet,” she told librarians and teachers.

Celebrations marked the launch of the Hands on computer classes for 1,800 Ghana children project in Ghana’s Western, Upper East and Ashanti regions in November. The launch events were attended by children, teachers and headmasters from the 15 schools that will benefit from the project; regional librarians and Ghana Education Service officials.

Addressing delegates in Western Region, Benedicta Aseidu, a manager in the Ghana Education Service, called on children to make full use of the learning opportunity presented by the new public library service: “I expect you to shine, to stand tall among your peers, and let it reflect in your Basic Education Certificate Examination,” she said.

Ms Aseidu especially appreciated the educational resources pre-loaded to the laptops. “The material covers almost all school subjects, and there are exam questions for the children to practice,” she said.

Ghana Library Authority Executive Director Ofosu Tenkorang commended Western Regional librarians for their commitment and thanked everyone who has contributed to the new service.

The schools close for the Christmas holidays on 17 December, and - thanks to your support - Beatrice, Erica and their classmates will go home happy knowing that from next term they will have regular hands-on computer classes, brought by their regional public library.

First-time learners at Archbishop Amissah JHS.
First-time learners at Archbishop Amissah JHS.
First computer class at Archbishop Amissah JHS.
First computer class at Archbishop Amissah JHS.
Thank you all for your support!
Thank you all for your support!
Teachers learn practical computer teaching skills.
Teachers learn practical computer teaching skills.

“We have been teaching in the abstract, which makes it very difficult to explain even the simplest of things to pupils. But with the computers coming in, I believe it will make our work easier,” said Mr Vincent B. Attah, a teacher in Lagos Town, Western Region, Ghana.

 Mr Attah was one of 25 teachers and librarians who attended intensive training in Winneba, Ghana, for the Hands-on computer classes for 1,800 Ghana children project. The librarians and teachers will lead the project in Ashanti, Western, Upper East and Volta regions, taking solar-charged laptop computers and wi-fi internet to poor and rural schools to give the children hands-on computer classes, and help them pass their exams.

 During the five-day course (25 – 28 August), librarians from the four regional libraries and teachers from 15 schools learnt essential technology skills and how to manage large classes to ensure that all students have the opportunity to use the laptops. Each teacher received a USB flash disc pre-loaded with content based on the school curriculum and e-tests to give the children practice answering exam questions. They also learnt how to integrate e-books into classroom teaching.

“I really enjoyed myself. As an ICT teacher, I have learned a lot especially from the first day’s teaching demonstrations. The teaching helped me to group students, and to teach practical computer lessons” said Mr Peter Afrifa Bonsu, a teacher from Ashanti region.

 Earlier in August, librarians from the three regions visited Volta Region, to learn from Volta Regional Library’s mobile library service, which has been providing hands-on computer classes for children in underdeveloped parts of Ho municipality for the past three years.

 Over two days (21 – 22 August) in Volta the visiting librarians learnt to how to prepare the mobile library vans for the classes; how to use solar power, and to download software updates and troubleshoot technical problems so that they will be able to maintain the laptops. They also visited schools to see the hands-on classes in action.

Teachers and librarians who will lead the project.
Teachers and librarians who will lead the project.
Teachers practise using laptops.
Teachers practise using laptops.
Excited pupils at Yakoti Junior High School.
Excited pupils at Yakoti Junior High School.

“We want to thank you for giving us this opportunity to be part of the world!” says Pius Akuta, computer teacher at Yakoti Junior High School.

Yakoti is one of 15 schools in three regions of Ghana that have just been selected to take part in EIFL's Hands on computer classes for 1,800 Ghana children project. 

We are delighted to report that we have consolidated agreements with the Ghana Library Authority and the Ghana-based technology agency, TechAide. With our partners, we have identified the three regions where we will implement the project in 15 rural schools: Ashanti, Western and Upper East regions.

With your support, when the new school starts in September, three regional mobile library vans will launch their programme of regular school visits. The mobile libraries will bring solar-powered laptops and wi-fi internet to the schools. Working with teachers, librarians will teach the children practical ICT skills, helping them pass their exams and improving their chances in life. 

Regional directors of education have welcomed the project, and children and teachers are eagerly awaiting the big day.

“When I heard that my school was to be one of the selected ones, that gave us great joy,” said James Tenga, headmaster of Yakoti Junior High School in Upper East Region.

For many children, this will be their first experience of computers.

“This project is going to improve ICT learning. It will ease the burden of our teachers, and for the children who are struggling to comprehend computers in the abstract,” said Mr Tenga.

Without computers, children learn ICT in theory.
Without computers, children learn ICT in theory.
Pupils in Volta Region practice using computers.
Pupils in Volta Region practice using computers.

We are delighted to announce that we have received a donation from the technology company, Nokia, to enable us to scale up our project to reach 1,800 children in three more regions of Ghana.

We started working with just 450 children attending rural schools in Volta Region. In 2014 your support through GlobalGiving helped 212 children to pass their computer exams, opening the doors to secondary school and improving the children’s chances in life.

This achievement led Nokia to select our project for presentation at a fundraising event held in Berlin in November 2014, to demonstrate Nokia’s commitment to technology that meets real human need. .

The Nokia grant enables EIFL to extend the project to three more regions of Ghana, where public libraries will reach over 1,000 more children. We will also continue our commitment to children in Volta Region, by providing Volta Regional Library with additional computers.

“Our experience with Volta Regional Library has shown that libraries can offer a cost-effective and sustainable model for providing access to technology and improving education in rural schools. We thank Nokia and GlobalGiving UK for their confidence in our programme, and welcome the opportunity to expand the project to three more regions in Ghana.

“We also again thank the many individual EIFL supporters and partners who supported the ‘Hands on Computer Classes For 450 Ghana Children’ project,” said EIFL Director, Rima Kupryte.

During the last week of February 2015, EIFL staff visited Ghana to meet with major stakeholders. The meetings have built a strong platform to take forward our expanded project, which is named Hands On Computer Classes for 1,800 Ghana Children.

“You have opened the doors to learning, and Ghana’s children in three more regions will not be left behind in this digital era," said Kwaku Ofosu-Tenkorang, Executive Director, Ghana Library Authority.

Outdoor computer class guided by a librarian.
Outdoor computer class guided by a librarian.
Online at last - pupils learn about the internet.
Online at last - pupils learn about the internet.

“From everyone at the library, the teachers and most of all, the children, thank you to everyone who has supported us. Please accept our best wishes for the festive period and the New Year.” – Alikem Tamakloe, head of Volta Regional Library.

 With your support, 212 children have passed their exams, opening opportunities to progress to secondary school and to brighter futures for them and their families.

 The children attend junior schools in under-developed parts of Ho municipality in Ghana. The schools are extremely poorly resourced: some have no electricity; none have computers or internet connections.

 Your support enables Volta Regional Library to travel to the schools in a van equipped with solar power, laptop computers and wi-fi internet, and to offer struggling children hands-on computer classes.

 Exam results for 2014 show what a difference the library’s classes are making: at Mawuli Junior High School 84% of students passed their computer exams; at Ziave Dzogbe Junior High School, 39% passed (up from just 6% in 2013); at Klefe Achatime school which took the exam for the first time, 39% of students passed.

 “There is still a long way to go, but it is thanks to the library that we are improving. The students were very excited to be able to answer the exam questions,” said ICT teacher, Charles Kloklo.

 The library’s mobile classes are in high demand. In the 2013/14 school year the library’s itinerary included five schools and just over 600 pupils. Now the library regularly visits 10 schools, reaching 1,400 pupils.

 “The children are always very enthusiastic seeing the library vehicle in their schools. We are struggling to keep up with demand, and the pressure on the computers is increasing. But we know that with support in the New Year we will have more computers to give more children a better chance in life,” said Mr Tamakloe.

Computers keep the pupils busy in class.
Computers keep the pupils busy in class.

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Organization Information

EIFL

Location: Vilnius, Lithuania - Lithuania
Website: http:/​/​www.eifl.net
Project Leader:
Jean Fairbairn
Vilnius, Lithuania