Graphic Business News

Tikrom M/A JHS pupils receive ICT and STEAM training

By: Daniel Ofosu Dwamena
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Some volunteers teaching the puplis how to operate the computer as they look on
Some volunteers teaching the puplis how to operate the computer as they look on

Young at Heart Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, seeking to empower children in rural communities with critical digital literacy and utilisation skills, has provided Information Communication Technology (ICT) training to the teachers and students of the Tikrom Municipal Assembly Junior High School under the Ejisu Juaben municipality.

The training which included simple ICT skills, how to operate Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access as well as hands-on training of the  Ananse the teacher app, an application created by the foundation to equip children with effective reading skills and comprehension, benefited 62 students and their teachers.

The students were also trained on some Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) activities such as using vinegar and baking soda to produce carbon dioxide.

The Team Leader of the Group, Mr Philip Afran Gaisie, speaking in an interview with the Paper said Tikrom was chosen because of the deprived nature and unavailability of ICT centers to facilitate training.

He said the group was aimed at training children in basic ICT skills, in a way to enhance Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education which has gained much attention by policy makers and institutions.

He said STEAM education had provided a massive improvement in various areas including but not limited to, communication, through the proliferation of smart phones and the Internet; transportation, through faster airplanes and vehicles; and health, through improved diagnostic tools for medical professionals to identify diseases early.

“We live in world that is characterised by accelerated technological advancement, solutions to problems, innovative and creative methods of making the world a better place,” he said.

“It is therefore important that children in deprived communities have training that reflected on the emergence of the uses STEM to find innovative and creative ways of making the country better,” he explained.

This, he said, would make the country stay relevant in the ever advancing technological world.

He mentioned that often times, pupils in the urban dwellings excel in ICT and STEAM related courses because of the availability of facilities for intensive training to the detriment of those in the rural setting.

Need for government intervention
Mr Gaisie said there were a lot of dearth functional laboratories in most schools in the country because of the lack of equipment, while some schools were completely without laboratories for practical work, forcing teachers to adopt largely, theoretical curriculum.

He added that the foundation would continue to help champion the course of ICT and STEAM training to deprived communities, however, if the nation is to benefit from science and technology taught at the basic levels, there was the need for the government to provide adequate and well equipped facilities and laboratories for STEAM education in the rural communities.

 This, he said, would ensure that students were given practical explanations and applications of the various theories and formulae they learn in class.

Young At Heart Ghana
Young at Heart Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, was founded in 2013 by Miss Josephine Marie Godwyll and has so far empowered more than 6000 children in deprived communities in Ashanti, Central, Eastern and Greater Accra Regions with basic ICT literacy and utilisation skills.

The efforts of young volunteers from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), University of Ghana (UG), University of Cape-Coast (UCC), All Nations University (ANU) and the Koforidua Technical University (KTU) have made massive impact and improvement in test scores and the general appreciation of ICT as a subject in various schools with their own resources.

As part of their effort, Young At Heart Ghana has set up three ICT hubs from their own resources at Aboabogya at Atwima Mponua in the Ashanti Region and a community in Koforidua and Akaa to help children to have access to computers for practical after they had left.

The foundation has over the years expanded to include modules that target children in urban areas as well as those in rural communities upon noticing the general under utility of digital platforms to trigger creativity among Ghanaian children.

In addition to running Digital Innovators Clubs (DiggieClubs) in schools, Young At Heart Ghana has so far organised Digital Fairs partnering with organisations like the Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation, Osramba Artworld and Origma Tech and Tigo Ghana.