Ghana's Computer Literacy/Distant Learning, 07/00

Ghana's Computer Literacy/Distant Learning, 07/00

GhaCLAD2000 Conference

Update on Ghana's Computer Literacy/Distant Learning project:

General discussion of program's objectives and purview (Bill Owen): OBJECTIVE: that individuals and institutions in Ghana adapt on a regular basis curricula in use in N. American community colleges, basic schools and adult and youth education programs (via Internet access) The Users in Ghana: private software training schools, teacher training colleges, Ghana Association of Business and Communication Centers (GABCC), Ghana Assoc. of Science Teachers, Mathematics Association of Ghana, non- governmental organizations The Content: software applicatios (computer literacy), computer mediated learning in math/science for teacher training, environmental/health sciences and nursing training (Edmund Browne), electronics-telecoms, building trades, hotel management and tourism HOW to reach the above objective: 1. EQUIPMENT RECYCLING Used computers sent to Ghana via a contract with an agency like the East- West Education Consortium, Cambridge, Ma and other bulk equipment recycling or shipping projects. Ghanaian and international donations for purchase of computer equipmen in Ghana for Ghana public use 2. INTRODUCTORY COMPUTER LITERACY COURSE delivered by VOLU, 1996 The course provides an orientation and basic skills with the PC: word processing, spreadsheets, dbase management, presentation, email to VOLU alumni, VOLU headquarters staff, GAST, MAG as well as Liberian refugees, district assembly staff-Dodowa. The training would be residential at Kordiabe training center and non-residential atthe VOLU headquarters, Accra (supported by Operation Crossroads Africa, Paul Barry, German Volunteer Service (GVS) 3. DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS The general training effort by VOLU in 1996 in Accra, over time, becomes specialized and no longer exclusively tied to PC skills:

A. Computer Literacy-Business Skills Training

B. Computer Mediated Instruction Pilot Project-MathsCRYout(h)

C. Community College Distance Learning

D. Community Computing Demonstration Project

Computer Literacy-Business Skills Training: VOLU designs, implements and evaluates a computer literacy and business skills program to produce teams of computer literacy trainer/consultants as well as youth with the ability to use software to solve business problems,i.e., computer literacy. GABCC and other institutions involved in the delivery of business and computer software training apply the instructional innovations developed and delivered by VOLU trainer - consultants and the computer literacy business skill program (supported by Operations Crossroads Africa, Paul Barry, Singapore International Foundation, US Community Colleges) Computer Mediated Instruction (CMI) in Maths/Science (MathsCRYout(h) VOLU adds computer mediated instruction to the software applications being taught. The focus would shift to lower primary to middle school students as described in the VOLU proposal to USAID and SIF for the Maths, Computers and Rural Youth (MathsCRYout(h) effort for the Techiman District. The CMI demonstration uses commercial software to accelerate math skills, but as a supplement to the national school curricula. The output is the creation of math clubs, math whizzes and improved scores on standarized tests and changes in career aspirations. The CMI efforts could also be run through GABCC and the Archdioceses of Accra and a number of private schools in the country. The overall aim of this effort would be to inform Government about the effectiveness of computer mediated instruction in basic education. (supported by the Ghana National Service Secretariat, Operation Crossroads Africa, SIF, US Community Colleges, Ministry of Education, USAID) Community College Distance Learning A number of software training schools in addition to the computer literacy training within VOLU would add a distance education component. This would assist private candidates to gain access to community college associate degree programs in the US. Local youth would master computer literacy skills while receiving courses via email as required by the associate degree program. Government and donors might want to use this distance learning system to provide in-service training to government and PVO staff. Community Computing Demonstration Project In the locations where the computer literacy - business skills, computer mediated instruction (maths/science) and US Community College distance learning efforts prove effective, these projects would be expanded to become a demonstration of community computing. This demo would exchange information and stimulate problem-solving within a particular town or neighborhood. It would be based upon the principles of voluntary social action on the part of the key community institutions that decide to take part. Each institution would be responsible for the storage and exchange of information. The result of the community computing demonstration would be an assessment of how Internet and computer tools contribute to socio - economic development. It could include the sustained use of a local electronic bulletin board system (BBS) and listservs to unify community activists. Successful community computing efforts would be supported through becoming affiliates with NGhO-Net in Ghana and with the National Pubic Telecomputing Network (NPTN) and the new Organization for International Community Networking (Morino Institute, Reston, Va.). 5. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COMPUTER LITERACY IN AFRICA- 1998 Electronic and then face-to-face conferencing (Accra) would be organized to exchange lessons learned about the use of computers in Africa, bringing together practitioners with government, donor and corporate leaders. (supported by HABITAT, UN agencies, donors).


Producing the 5 outputs described above is expected to lead to the achievement of the overall objective of having institutions in Ghana make use of the wealth of pre-tested educational tools, curricula from schools and community colleges, etc. in North America and worldwide. By 1997, there would be a number of alternative institutions in Ghana that could be contributors and targets for the Ghana Computer Literacy Project:

SchoolNet, Accra (private, donors)

110 district science centers, Ministry of Education (ODA-UK)

AAU on-line to rural schools (Dutch finance of VSAT uplink)

Datatel Education Network (GOG, IBRD, Ghana Telecom, private)

NGhO-Net BBS for 630 NGOs plus Internet access (Danita)

5 university campuses/CSIR (IBRD)

Ghana Telecom Internet Service (public-private partnership)


Wilfred Owen, Jr.

Reston Enterprises Ltd.

P.O. Box 252, Techiman, B/A




COMPUTER LITERACY...defined Computer literacy is defined as that level of knowledge and understanding of the personal computer, desk-top or lap-top, beyond the mere utilization of word processing software. Word processing utilization might be considered as beginning computer literacy. Beyond that, for intermediate and advanced computer literacy, one should (1) be comfortable with installing and configuring common software, (2) be familiar and use regularly a computer modem, (3) be able to access a computer bulletin board or on-line service, (4) be able to send and receive messages via electronic mail (e-mail), (5) be able to upload and download computer files with ease and (6) be able to print from the computer. Dr. Osei DARKWA: Computer literacy is a means to an end. The ramifications of Computer literacy are numerous, and are geared toward creating an awareness of computer literacy needs at the community and grassroots level; promoting electronic networking for development; bringing Ghana on the Information Superhighway; exploring possibilities and barriers to developing national goals for infusing computer literacy into primary, secondary, and tertiary education; exploring the incorporation of computer literacy into existing community-initiated development projects; creating a demonstration effect on public opinion in terms of what information technology can offer for national development; increasing awareness of how the computer and electronic connectivity can reorient youth groups toward the economy and labor market of the 21st century; and strengthening the capacity of grassroots organizations and low income communities to initiate, choose, plan and manage their own self help projects through computer technology.


D I S T A N C E L E A R N I N G - E L E C T R O N I C E D U C A T I O N


Dr. Steve Eskow (President, Electronic University Network, observes: "...important is our ability to create a consortium of US schools and colleges which will agree to offer instruction via computer and modem at a distance, and I would like to work on that piece as well as others. My real point is this: If we seem to be saying to the funding agencies--church supporters, foundations, USAID --that we are talking about an experiment in creating a new kind of educational institution that will be able to offer high quality instruction in the Third World while enriching education for the US--all without building buildings and highways and parking lots--I think we can get new and enlarged sources of funding, and that funding will include monies for US participation in the instructional process.



Gideon Hayford Chonia (University Of Zurich; founder of GhanaNet) &, writes: A project, Ghana SchoolNET, has been initiated with the Ghana Education Service. To have more insight of this project, browse through our WEB: ...We are building a computing center at Kokomlemle, where repairs and courses will be given. We are networking 50 School together by the end of March 1996 as a pilot installation to E-mail system only. Full Internet access will be by the end of the year..... We are still buying the neccessary networking equipments to connect to NCS in Ghana. I just sent 18 SUNSParc 1+ unix computers for our Academic Computing Center.


Dr. Edmund Browne ( writes:

Computer literacy is ONLY the starting point. The computer must become a classroom toy and a teaching/learning tool. How best can we organise a system of computers at vantage points in the country to support our edcuation and development objectives? I am sure that VOLU (renowned NGO in Ghana) will be pleasantly surprised it has started something small which will grow to become bigger with time. I am a Public Health Physician from Ghana and I am just about to complete my Phd in London. I lecture at UST School of Medical Sciences and plan to return home by the end of the year. One of my ambitions is to introduce computer assisted learning to medical students in an environment where a university teacher may spend 24 hours a day just teaching!! I am also keep on introducing distance continuing education to health workers in rual areas; doctors, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, etc etc. The colleagues in (the Computer Literacy Program of Ghana) are quite an exciting bunch and I really love the big dreams bit!! Really going for the moon!! It seems to me that we will have to assemble a team of teachers who can organise courses for electronic education as well linking up with other courses alrady provided on the internet. I guess if we are able to develop the software in our local languages then there should be no problem at all. In fact, I share the same office with a colleague from Thailand and there is almost a Thai language version of all the regular softwares you can think of developed by Thai computing experts. We have some way to go but like I always maintain ...

Dr. Edmund Browne


From: Date: Tue, 18 Jun 1996 12:20:44 -0700 Message-Id: < Subject: AFRICA Exploiting the Internet/Classrooms Without Walls?

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Pages