RE: Computer Literacy / Distance Learning
Curriculum development / Search for funding
Please cc: your response to Dr. Osei Darkwa: [log in to unmask]
Hi to ALL!
I thought an update on Ghana's Computer Literacy/Distance Learning project
would be of interest to some of you. Things are really moving along! At
this point, we would welcome your participation in discussions on the
direction and implementation of this project. Thanks to those of you who
have offered or provided assistance, already.
We hope to build a network of individuals and organizations via the Internet
interested in being kept informed about the progress of this undertaking, or
perhaps even willing to engage in discourse or provide pro bono consulting,
as this project moves toward fruition.
It is being launched in Ghana as a non-profit endeavor under the aegis of a
highly-regarded NGO, the Voluntary Workcamps Association of Ghana
(spearheaded by Dr. Osei Darkwa and Bill Owen), in conjuction with a
consortium of organizations and individuals in Ghana and around the world.
This is a unique endeavor for which there is a great deal of enthusiasm, and
whose promise we hope will serve as an example for similar efforts in other
The first volunteers (from the USA, Australia, Germany and elsewhere) are
slated to arrive in Ghana within a few weeks to begin working with their
Ghanaian counterparts in launching the Computer Literacy/Distant Learning
Lack of funding and insufficient computer equipment remain major obstacles.
We hope that some of you will be able to share ideas on this matter; and we
hope that you will help us to identify persons with whom we might do well to
contact and open channels of communication.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Cecil R. Washington
African Computer Literacy/Distance Learning Project
Operation Crossroads Africa, Inc.-NYC
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]
3697-1/2 Platt Ave.
Lynwood, CA 90262-3641
Please cc: your response to :
Dr. Osei Darkwa: Faculty, University of Illinois, Chicago
Director of Computer Literacy/Distant Learning [VOLU]
[log in to unmask]
Office: (312) 996-8508
Home number: (708) 848-7054
FAX (312) 996-2770
Address: 621 S. Maple
Oak Park, IL 60304
General discussion of program's objectives and purview (Bill Owen):
OBJECTIVE: that individuals and institutions in Ghana adapt on a regular
basis curricula in use in N. American community colleges, basic schools
and adult and youth education programs (via Internet access)
The Users in Ghana: private software training schools, teacher training
colleges, Ghana Association of Business and Communication Centers (GABCC),
Ghana Assoc. of Science Teachers, Mathematics Association of Ghana, non-
The Content: software applicatios (computer literacy), computer mediated
learning in math/science for teacher training, environmental/health
sciences and nursing training (Edmund Browne), electronics-telecoms,
building trades, hotel management and tourism
HOW to reach the above objective:
1. EQUIPMENT RECYCLING
Used computers sent to Ghana via a contract with an agency like the East-
West Education Consortium, Cambridge, Ma and other bulk equipment
recycling or shipping projects.
Ghanaian and international donations for purchase of computer equipmen in
Ghana for Ghana public use
2. INTRODUCTORY COMPUTER LITERACY COURSE delivered by VOLU, 1996
The course provides an orientation and basic skills with the PC: word
processing, spreadsheets, dbase management, presentation, email to VOLU
alumni, VOLU headquarters staff, GAST, MAG as well as Liberian refugees,
district assembly staff-Dodowa. The training would be residential at
Kordiabe training center and non-residential atthe VOLU headquarters,
Accra (supported by Operation Crossroads Africa, Paul Barry, German
Volunteer Service (GVS)
3. DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS
The general training effort by VOLU in 1996 in Accra, over time, becomes
specialized and no longer exclusively tied to PC skills:
A. Computer Literacy-Business Skills Training
B. Computer Mediated Instruction Pilot Project-MathsCRYout(h)
C. Community College Distance Learning
D. Community Computing Demonstration Project
Computer Literacy-Business Skills Training:
VOLU designs, implements and evaluates a computer literacy and
business skills program to produce teams of computer literacy
trainer/consultants as well as youth with the ability to use software to
solve business problems,i.e., computer literacy. GABCC and other
institutions involved in the delivery of business and computer software
training apply the instructional innovations developed and delivered by
VOLU trainer - consultants and the computer literacy business skill
program (supported by Operations Crossroads Africa, Paul Barry, Singapore
International Foundation, US Community Colleges)
Computer Mediated Instruction (CMI) in Maths/Science (MathsCRYout(h)
VOLU adds computer mediated instruction to the software applications being
taught. The focus would shift to lower primary to middle school students
as described in the VOLU proposal to USAID and SIF for the Maths,
Computers and Rural Youth (MathsCRYout(h) effort for the Techiman District.
The CMI demonstration uses commercial software to accelerate math skills,
but as a supplement to the national school curricula. The output is
the creation of math clubs, math whizzes and improved scores on
standarized tests and changes in career aspirations. The CMI efforts
could also be run through GABCC and the Archdioceses of Accra and a number
of private schools in the country. The overall aim of this effort would
be to inform Government about the effectiveness of computer mediated
instruction in basic education. (supported by the Ghana National Service
Secretariat, Operation Crossroads Africa, SIF, US Community Colleges,
Ministry of Education, USAID)
Community College Distance Learning
A number of software training schools in addition to the computer literacy
training within VOLU would add a distance education component. This would
assist private candidates to gain access to community college associate
degree programs in the US. Local youth would master computer literacy
skills while receiving courses via email as required by the associate
degree program. Government and donors might want to use this distance
learning system to provide in-service training to government and PVO staff.
Community Computing Demonstration Project
In the locations where the computer literacy - business skills, computer
mediated instruction (maths/science) and US Community College distance
learning efforts prove effective, these projects would be expanded to
become a demonstration of community computing. This demo would exchange
information and stimulate problem-solving within a particular town or
neighborhood. It would be based upon the principles of voluntary
social action on the part of the key community institutions that decide to
take part. Each institution would be responsible for the storage and
exchange of information. The result of the community computing
demonstration would be an assessment of how Internet and computer tools
contribute to socio - economic development. It could include the sustained
use of a local electronic bulletin board system (BBS) and listservs to
unify community activists. Successful community computing efforts would be
supported through becoming affiliates with NGhO-Net in Ghana and with
the National Pubic Telecomputing Network (NPTN) and the new Organization
for International Community Networking (Morino Institute, Reston, Va.).
5. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COMPUTER LITERACY IN AFRICA- 1998
Electronic and then face-to-face conferencing (Accra) would be organized
to exchange lessons learned about the use of computers in Africa, bringing
together practitioners with government, donor and corporate leaders.
(supported by HABITAT, UN agencies, donors).
Producing the 5 outputs described above is expected to lead to the
achievement of the overall objective of having institutions in Ghana
make use of the wealth of pre-tested educational tools, curricula from
schools and community colleges, etc. in North America and worldwide.
By 1997, there would be a number of alternative institutions in Ghana that
could be contributors and targets for the Ghana Computer Literacy Project:
SchoolNet, Accra (private, donors)
110 district science centers, Ministry of Education (ODA-UK)
AAU on-line to rural schools (Dutch finance of VSAT uplink)
Datatel Education Network (GOG, IBRD, Ghana Telecom, private)
NGhO-Net BBS for 630 NGOs plus Internet access (Danita)
5 university campuses/CSIR (IBRD)
Ghana Telecom Internet Service (public-private partnership)
Wilfred Owen, Jr.
Reston Enterprises Ltd.
P.O. Box 252, Techiman, B/A
Email: [log in to unmask]
Computer literacy is defined as that level of knowledge and understanding of
the personal computer, desk-top or lap-top, beyond the mere utilization of
word processing software. Word processing utilization might be considered as
beginning computer literacy. Beyond that, for intermediate and advanced
computer literacy, one should (1) be comfortable with installing and
configuring common software, (2) be familiar and use regularly a computer
modem, (3) be able to access a computer bulletin board or on-line service,
(4) be able to send and receive messages via electronic mail (e-mail), (5)
be able to upload and download computer files with ease and (6) be able to
print from the computer.
D I S T A N T L E A R N I N G - E L E C T R O N I C E D U C A T I O N
Dr. Steve Eskow (President, Electronic University Network, [log in to unmask])
"...important is our ability to create a consortium of US schools and
colleges which will agree to offer instruction via computer and modem at a
distance, and I would like to work on that piece as well as others.
My real point is this:
If we seem to be saying to the funding agencies--church supporters,
foundtions, USAID --that we re talking about an experiment in creating a new
kind of educational institution that will be able to offer high quality
instruction in the Third World while enriching education for the US--all
without building buildings and highways and parking lots--I think we can get
new and enlarged sources of funding, and that funding will include monies
for US participation in the instructional process.
UPDATE ON CONNECTIVITY IN GHANA:
Gideon Hayford Chonia (University Of Zurich; founder of
GhanaNet)[log in to unmask] & [log in to unmask], writes:
A project, Ghana SchoolNET, has been initiated with the Ghana Education Service.
To have more insight of this project, browse through our WEB:
...We are building a computing center at Kokomlemle, where repairs and
courses will be given.
We are networking 50 School together by the end of March 1996 as a pilot
installation to E-mail system only.
Full Internet access will be by the end of the year.....
We are still buying the neccessary networking equipments to connect to NCS
I just sent 18 SUNSParc 1+ unix computers for our Academic Computing Center.
Sorry for the length. I hope this has been of interest to some.
Thanks in advance for sharing any of your ideas with us, particularly about
our two most serious problems, funding and acquiring used computers for this