For American and European students, computers have become a staple of the classroom: preschoolers play interactive computer games, elementary students surf the net for their reports and science projects. By middle school, using a computer and navigating the web are second nature. Our children are usually more fluent in computer technology than we are--my 10-year-old cousin taught me how to upload songs on my mp3 player and how to download music (legally) from the web.
For Ghanaian students, computers are mythical machines. They study diagrams of keyboards and memorize definitions of 'internet', 'flashdrive', and 'RAM', but they have never laid eyes on a computer. In an effort to thrust students into the Information Age, Ghana's Education System has now made ICT (Information and Communication Technology) a required subject on the BECE, an exam all junior high students must pass to graduate and move on to senior high school. For those who have no access to a computer, this means a huge blow to their BECE scores, threatening their ability to graduate junior high. In response, one Humjibre junior high student, Kesse Asare, issued the following plea to GHEI:
February 2, 2011
I am very happy but I am sad. Because of what? Because there is no computer in this library. So if they teach us ICT we would come to the library to receive this [knowledge].
But if we come to the library, we can see there is no computer, so how can we receive [our ICT training]? Please, we beg you, please help us solve this problem. If you do so, God Almighty will bless you forever and ever. AMEN.
We thank you because you will solve this problem for us. If you do, I will be happy because I don’t want us to fail our BECE, so that we will pass, in the name of Jesus.
With your help, GHEI hopes to purchase a computer for the Humjibre Community Library to be used as a teaching tool for all students. To donate to the Library Computer Fund, visit our donate page and select "Library Computer Fund" in the Program Designation drop-down menu.
--Natalie Rich, GHEI Communications Director