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26.02.2005 General News

Embrace computer for accelerated devt - Liz Ohene

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Accra, Feb 26, GNA - Ms Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES), on Saturday urged students to embrace the computer as a tool for accelerated development in the country. Ms Ohene said most students especially in basic schools, saw the computer as being shrouded with magic, adding that, they felt the computer was very far from assisting them to improve their lot. She was addressing the closing of a two-week workshop on computer networking organised by the MOES and Global Technology Academy based in the United States of America.

The workshop was organised for selected teachers and students at Agogo State Secondary School, Collins Commercial Secondary School, in the Ashanti Region, Aburi Secondary Technical, St Paul's Secondary Technical at Kukurantumi, in the Eastern region, Abutia Secondary Technical, Kpando Secondary Technical in the Volta region and Afienya Leadership Training Institute in the Greater Accra Region.

Ms Ohene said most communities felt cut off because of the lack of telephone communication systems without, which they could not be connected to the Internet. She said with knowledge in computer literacy people and students in the villages could easily make contacts with the world community and find new approaches and initiatives to improve and add value to their businesses, carry out research or apply to schools that answer their career needs. She urged students to change their attitude and see the computer as a companion for their capacity development, adding, it is not only for those into computer science but those in carpentry and vocational training could learn new ideas and lessons and widen their horizon of knowledge in their chosen careers. She expressed the hope that the trainees would find the workshop useful and impart their knowledge to others.

Ms Ohene said the rate at which departments bought new computers at the slightest breakdown and leave old ones sitting in offices like pieces of furniture was worrying. She said the training of trainees on computer refurbishment and networking was a step in the right direction to assist the Ministry to spread out the knowledge to other schools so that they could work on their own computers when they breakdown.

Mr Paa Kwesi Evans, Principal, of Afienya Leadership Training Institute said human resource development could not be achieved without knowledge in information technology, adding, we should have the capacity to fix computers and that is why basic computer literacy is very important. He said that, "with training we are gradually getting out of the attitude that owning a computer was a luxury and therefore only the rich could own them".

Computer studies, is compulsory for all students but an examinable subject for those who offer computer science and an allied subject. He said those who did not offer computer science did not attach much importance to the subject, adding, to them the computer was an expensive tool, surrounded with mysticism and was therefore difficult for them to understand how it could be of any use to them. He said the computer laboratory at the institute had no access to the Internet because the telephone system at the institute had broken.

In August 2004 a team from Global Technology Academy trained some selected teachers and students from selected schools on computer refurbishment and were in the country this time to train them on how to network and fix broken down computers. GTA had so far presented about 500 used computers to some schools in the country.

Mr John Burdick of GTA said from the workshop, it was realised that some people in the country still had not seen computer and that it was their first experience with the computer. He said some schools had old computers, which were outmoded and were not operational. GTA was also gender sensitive and had decided to give scholarship to two girls who completed Afienya Institute to further acquire knowledge in computer skills at the Accra Technical Training College and serve as role model to others girls.

Mr Kjell-Jon Rye, President of GTA said the aim was to make Ghana able to handle her country's computer problems and to become an ICT centre in sub-Saharan African. He said GTA had plans to train teachers and students from the Upper West, Upper East and Northern regions on computer refurbishment and networking.