Digital literacy has become so important in the 21st century and is applied in manufacturing, services, and other industries. It is, therefore, necessary to create a level playing field for every child, whether in the cosmopolitan cities or remote rural areas, to access tools such as computers that will help them acquire practical digital skills.
While some young people in the cities are fortunate to get access to some of these tools, most children in the towns and villages face this huge digital divide where basic tools like computers are not available in schools for digital skills education.
To contribute towards solving this equipment deficit in rural schools, the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) as part of its 5th-anniversary celebration donated 10 desktop computers to Ve-Golokwati RC primary school in the Afadzato South District of the Volta Region on Tuesday 8th March 2022.
The donation was made at a brief ceremony in the presence of the cheerful and visibly excited pupils of the school. The computers were received by the Headmistress of the school Madam Theodora Akosua Awumey in the presence of the Afadzato South Ghana Education Service (GES) District Director, Dr. Esther A. Yeboah-Adzimah; Assemblyman for Ve-Golokwati, Mr. Evans Edem Gaka; School Management Committee Chairman, Mr. Augustine Komla Eloh; the GES training officer of the district, Madam Henrietta Sindy Adiko and teachers from Ve-Golokwati RC primary school.
After presenting the computers and their accessories, the Executive Director of the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana, Mr. David Gowu, admonished the students and the staff to take care of the desktops so when IIPGH returns, more computers will be added to the ones donated.
Mr. Gowu added the institute will be back with some of its professionals in the ICT industry to support the staff and students put the computers donated to good use by providing ICT training in areas such as coding. “We want these children to learn how to create games, animations, design objects in 3D, develop websites and other creative things using the computer so they can develop their skills” the Executive Director of IIPGH emphasized. Mr. Gowu was accompanied by the Director of Operations of IIPGH, Mr. Richard Kafui Amanfu, Director of Administration of the Institute Madam Gifty Mottey, and other volunteers from the institute.
The GES District Director, Dr. Yeboah-Adzimah, on behalf of the management and the school, thanked IIPGH for the kind gesture. She indicated the institute is now a friend of the district and looking forward to more collaborations to promote ICT education in the district. “We are grateful to the institute of ICT professionals Ghana for the donation, but like the proverbial Oliver Twist, we are asking for more so other schools in the district can also benefit,” she added.
The Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana, which was established 5 years ago by a group of technology professionals in Ghana, supports students and professionals with ICT capacity-building programs. With over 2,000 professionals, businesses, and students in the ICT sector in Ghana, the institute runs ICT education programs for kids dubbed “Early Start”.
The initiative focuses on introducing children as young as 6 years to coding or computer programming skills. This initiative, instituted by IIPGH in 2018, has seen over 10,000 students predominantly pre-tertiary students (primary to secondary) benefiting from the coding program. These students have acquired relevant 21st-century digital skills that will prepare them for their place of work.
Most of the beneficiaries of this initiative are students in the urban areas or cities so as IIPGH turns 5, the coding and other ICT skills development programs are being extended to rural communities to bridge the gap and get children in the suburban, deprived and underserved communities to benefit from emerging technologies skills development programs. To achieve this aim, the institute organized a series of awareness training sessions dubbed “Coding Caravan” in various communities in 2021 to assess the needs of the students and other stakeholders.
One thing identified during the awareness sessions and workshops was the lack of computers for the students to have practical lessons. IIPGH, therefore, acquired used but fully functional computers from Heco Systems Ltd at highly discounted rates to be donated to pilot schools in this category of communities. Heco Systems Ltd operates the LaptopRent-Ghana.com brand where they rent laptops, tablets, and other devices to organizations for workshops, training, and conferences.
Unlike in the past where individuals or organizations donate computers or other ICT devices and the beneficiary schools or institutions struggle to put them into good use, the program being run by the Institute of ICT Professionals will ensure that volunteers from IIPGH periodically visit the beneficiary schools and support the teachers and other instructors to use the computers to teach some of the practical ICT training modules such as coding. In doing this, the institute will assess if the donations serve the intended purpose. In addition, IIPGH will make a case for other partners to donate more equipment or technology education devices as they could see the results of what was initially donated.
The donations were not limited to the deprived school. The Institute also donated two (2) desktop computers to the Afadzato South Office of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to support them in effectively carrying out their administrative work. Dr. Yeboah-Adzimah received the donations on behalf of the district office. She once again expressed her gratitude to the management and the team of professionals from IIPGH.
Afadzato South was created in 2012, which makes it a new district that needs administrative and logistical support in the areas of education, healthcare, among others to serve the local communities. IIPGH, therefore, donated some of its computers to the GES office of the district as part of its support towards achieving this goal.
David is the Executive Director, Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana
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