Dr Deborah Rose, President of Helping Africa Foundation (HAF) has said the purpose of the Yamoransa Model Labs was to expand ICT education across Ghana in truly sustainable ways to promote teaching and learning.
She said the expansion was also an exemplary propagation of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s stirring mantra of “Ghana Beyond Aid” to make the country self-reliant and digitize the economy.
Dr. Rose was speaking at the commissioning of the 6th ICT Lab built by the HAF and Friends of Yamoransa Foundation (FYF) located at Peki Avetile in the Volta Region.
The well equipped 40-seater ICT laboratory dubbed: “Yamoransa Model Lab 6” which is to provide free ICT literacy in the area has a conference room also for teacher training and workshops.
It has a MakerSpace specially designed by TECHAiDE, a technology company to help prepare Ghanaian students who need the critical 21st century skills in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). TECHAiDE installed all the technology systems.
The MakerSpace installed as part of the facility includes a 3D printer, Augmented/Virtual Reality System, Arduino, Legos, and other Robotics equipment.
The computers are installed with over 30 pieces of educational software to address the curriculum requirements of Primary through Junior High School levels. An ASANKA device at the facility provides educational content over wi-fi for the center and a distance of half a football field around the facility.
Because of lack of reliable electricity in many villages, the facility has solar system to provide continuous power as part of the package.
She said the Government of Ghana fully endorses and embraces the efforts of HAF and FYF in spreading computer literacy in the Ghanaians schools.
Dr. Rose was confident that the promotion of ICT education will support and facilitate the government’s vision of a digitized Ghana.
She acknowledged Mr. Mark Dollhopf, Leader of the Yale Alumni Service Corps, the Volunteer Group that first brought her to Ghana.
Mr. Japhet Aryiku, Executive Director of HAF said his outfit was committed to spreading ICT education across Ghana and that each region in the country will benefit from one Lab.
He said the mission of his NGO was working to improve the education, health and social conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in Ghana.
Mr Ayiku said the HAF and the FYF were aiming at supporting and assisting with initiatives that are driven by technology for local communities. He cautioned the managers of the lab not to ever charge learners for using the facility.
Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister said President Akuffo-Addo’s Government quest to build an equitable society in which the productive capacities of the people are tapped for national development will come to naught if the citizenry don't have the basic information they may require.
He said people should have access to quality education, not only to earn a living in the future, but also because only a nation of well educated, skilled, well-informed and morally sound people can build a just and prosperous society.
Dr Letsa said the ICT facility fulfills the Ministry of Education’s objective of making the study of Mathematics, Science and ICT practical and charged the District Assembly to develop a Comprehensive Maintenance Plan for the facility to prolong its life’s span.
He said the world was trending in a knowledge-based economy and that any nation whose people do not have the required level of education and knowledge would not progress in today’s dynamic and competitive world; and may remain economically dependent.
The Chief Executive Officer of TECHAiDE, Mr. Kafui Prebbie, said the centre was programmed for the studies of ICT, Mathematics, Science and English Language.
The Volta Regional Education Director and the South Dayi District Director of Education, Madam Enyonam Afi Amafuga and Janet Valerie Datsa respectively commended the HAF and the FYF for bringing a magnificent ICT project to Peki Avetile and assured that the Ghana Education Service will collaborate with the District Assembly to ensure that the facility was properly maintained to serve the purpose for which it was equipped.
Mr. Ernest Mallet, the South Dayi District Chief Executive said the commissioning of the facility was timely and opportune as the globe strives to find mitigating measures to limit the impact of the COVID-19 particularly when it comes to teaching and learning.
He said the face-to-face teacher-pupil interactions has to be complemented with other mediums as COVID-19 has challenged the traditional classroom instructional method which is no longer reliable.
Deiga Kwadzo Dei XII, Chairman of the ceremony and Paramount Chief of Peki Traditional Area said, pupil were studying ICT in the classrooms but had no opportunity to practically demonstrate what they were learning due to the lack of computer facilities and that the center would now translate their studies to reality.