16.08.2006 Technology

Computer Experts To Develop Software

By Daily Graphic
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A group of computer experts and educators in Africa have come together to develop an open source school management software for schools in the West Africa sub-region.

The Travelling Developer Roadshow project, which was first organised in South Africa, seeks to link software developers in Africa with civil society in order to meet sustainable development needs whilst at the same time enhancing the pool of relevant software development in the Africa region.

The programme, which was at the instance of the Advance Information Technology (AITI), assembled computer and educational experts from Togo, Senegal, Nigeria, Uganda, Sierra-Leone, Liberia, South Africa, New Zealand and Ghana to deliberate and propose solutions to selected software development issues of concern in West Africa.

Among other things, the experts were tasked to develop a school management system software, localise the use of eXe tool, create a user-friendly interface for the education-out-of-the-box package, access and customise Kewel and create a digital resource library for schools in West Africa.

The aim was to provide an opportunity for educators and developers of free/libre software to interact, understand needs and produce a collection of software of real use within the sub-region. At the end of the programme, participants were able to develop a software capable of localising three local languages. The languages were Twi, Ewe and Kreo, the most widely spoken languages in Ghana and Sierra Leone respectively.

Addressing the participants, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Prof Jophus Anamua Mensah, said education was the bedrock of every nation's economy, adding that if education improved, the economy would also improve.

He said the UEW was interested in promoting Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education and therefore advised the participants not to waste the experience acquired but share it with their colleagues for the betterment of the wider community.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Director General of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, Miss Dorothy Gordon, said the goal of the training was to facilitate discussions among educators and software developers to come out with modules that would make it possible for teachers and learners to benefit from ICT education in West Africa.

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