‘Friends of Yamoransa’ and ‘Helping Africa Foundation’, both non-profit organisations based 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 four-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 is 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 revealed that in April this year, 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 interface on the blackboard to teach computing.
This she said, that with 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 realized that 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, believed the computer lab will help residents in the area to become proficient in computing and could help in terms of job search efforts.
According to him, 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 revealed that many people across the globe had 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.