17.08.2004 Regional News

Utilise the opportunities of ICT - Joe Donkor

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Aburi (E/R), Aug. 17, GNA - The redirection of Ghana's education to accelerate socio-economic development in the Golden Age of Business would depend on the people's ability to utilise opportunities provided by the Information Communication Technology (ICT) environment.

Mr Joe Donkor, Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, who said this on Tuesday, therefore, expressed the Government's determination to improve ICT accessibility as a tool not only for accelerated socio-economic development but also for the promotion of friendship, mutual cooperation, peaceful co-existence, cultural and political stability, Speaking at the inauguration of an ICT centre for the Presbyterian Women Training College at Aburi, Mr Donkor asked all friends of education non-governmental organisations, philanthropists and other public-spirited entities to support "in this roll-out crusade" to raise a vital infrastructure platform for integrating ICT in education.

He explained that teachers needed to transform their classrooms from a static one-way flow of information into dynamic student centred learning environment in which learners interacted with peers and teams, both in their own classroom as well as virtual classes around the world through the Internet.

Mr Donkor said the Government through the help of the United Nations' ICT taskforce has developed a strategic plan, dubbed: "The Ghana E-Schools and Community Initiative" to guide the general deployment of ICT into the school curriculum.

By this, "we are committed to helping bridge both the knowledge and digital divide in Ghana by creating an information and communications technology literate workforce and helping students and teachers as well as the broader community to realise their full potential", he said. The Government and people of Michigan, USA in collaboration with JKS and Associates, a local consultancy firm, provided the computers for the Centre in fulfilment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Ministry of Education and State of Michigan early this year. The MOU has a package of 945 computers, which the State of Michigan through its Commissioner, Kwame Kenyatta promised to send down to Ghana to aid in the Ministry's ICT programme to establish centres in all the 38 Teacher Training Colleges in the country to integrate ICT in the teaching and learning process.

Mr Kenyatta, who is also Wayne County Commissioner, State of Michigan, led a delegation from his State to the function. He challenged Africa and its people to use their own resources to develop the continent.

He said: "It is time for Africa and African people to use the resources of Africa for the development of the indigenous people," stressing; "we must also think of helping the African-Americans who wish to return to their roots, stay and help build Africa."

He pledged the continues support of the Michigan State in assisting Ghana's educational sector in building ICT centre in all schools.

Mrs Rose Oduro-Koranteng, Principal of the College, said the provision of the ICT Centre would enable the College to start its Diploma in Basic Education Course as the next academic year approached. She commended Government's efforts at providing Training Colleges with ICT and said it would in no doubt turn the Colleges into centres of excellence and would promote both open and distance learning.

Mr Emmanuel Dadebo, Coordinator of the ICT Education Programme at the Ministry of Education, who chaired the function, said under the Teacher Training ICT Programme, each College would receive at least 50 computers, adding that nine of such centres had been set up.

He said the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications had come up with a standard to ensure that refurbished and denoted computers sent to schools were not "less than Pentium three with a speed of 750 megahertz".

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