Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Present at the node meeting were IICD supported projects (ACDEP, MAPRONET, WADEP, CIC Managers from Zebilla, Bolgatanga, Bongo, Sandema, Damongo Walewale, Salaga, Yendi and Bimbilla and Bernadette Huizinga, Capacity Development Officer, IICD.
The Northern Projects Node Coordinator, Agbenyo John Stephen thanked all who came from far and near for being a part of the meeting. He explained to participants the essence of the node meetings and urged all and sundry to actively and freely participate in the discussions.
A video documentary of telecentre sustainability was shown. The video explained how the Kilosa Rural Service and Electronic Communication (KIRSEC) which started as an Internet café and provided farmer news and other secretarial services grew on the back of a business plan to become a thriving ISP.
In the video, Mr. Mark Farahani, CEO of KIRSEC explained how he developed a business plan for KIRSEC and watched the telecentre grow as a result of the implementation of the business plan.
A discussion was held on the video by the participants. Participants were of the view that based on the video, it is clear that there are a lot of resources, but we are not really profiting from them because we are not making the best use of them. Also, Internet enabled computers are not just for special people, but they are for all including the local people. CIC Managers present agreed that their CICs could be used to provide fishing and weather information for farmer groups in their communities.
The mention of telecentre sustainability hinged on business plan set the tone for another fruitful discussion. Mr. Mubarak Muntari, CIC Manager of the Bolgatanga CIC mentioned how fruitful a recently organized Business plan development workshop organized by IICD for CIC managers from 10 districts in the Northern Region has been. He said most of the CICs are considered a waste by the assemblies but urged his colleagues CIC managers to use their business plans to prove to the Assemblies that the CICs are a very viable business ventures. The CIC managers were urged to factor into their business plans, the role of the other IICD supported projects and networks.
PEER ASSIST – WADEP
Mr. Obed Tuabu of WADEP presented a challenge for a peer assist. The following were his questions;
1. Has TRADENET served ECAMIC well?
2. What has been the bottlenecks and setbacks in the Market Price Information distribution to their farmers?
3. What are some of the pitfalls WADEP should avoid in their Market Access Information Project implementation process?
4. Is Esoko a good option, are they giving a good service?
Though the ECAMIC representation was not present at the project node meeting, the other project partners available brought in various suggestions that could be considered by WADEP
Mr. Norbert Apentibadek mentioned that an alternative for WADEP to consider is to contact Savana Farmers Marketing Company. He mentioned that they work with small farmers and producers and help them to have access to markets. They do this buying the products. He mentioned that volume and the quality are assured with the help of MoFA.
Mr. Norbert pledged to link the two organizations (WADEP and Savana Farmers).
The CIC Managers also had another alternative for WADEP. Mr. Mubarak urged WADEP also take a look at http://www.shopafrica53.com/
He mentioned that they are into the sale of traditional goods within localities. He said data and form are designed so that personal data of producers are captured and the goals include Reliable design and Uniform competitive price
The CIC managers were tasked to send full data about this platform to the dgroups for further study and discussion
Mr. Bala Ibrahim and Mr. Latif Baako took turns to educate WADEP on the Esoko platform. They mentioned that MAPRONET is almost about concluding discussions with the managers of the Esoko platform; thus, MAPRONET will soon be joining the Esoko platform
Showcase of Blog of Damango District
Mr. Malik Ewuntomah Joe, the CIC Manager of the Damongo CIC was given the opportunity to do a showcase of the district and CIC blogsite http://www.damongodistrict.blogspot.com
He stated that it is one thing haveing the blog and another thing keeping it updated. He urged his colleague CIC Managers to collaborate effectively with their District Information Officers to keep their blogs updated with news of the District and the CICs
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The Introduction of ICT into the Ghanaian Educational Curriculum; successes, failures and the way forward
Speaking on the theme “The introduction of ICT into the Ghanaian Educational Curriculum; successes, failures and the way forward”, Alhaji Haroon mentioned that this is the first time government policy is including ICT in the content of education as a matter of national priority. He further explained that due to the importance of ICT in Education, the Ministry of Education has been facilitating the process of integrating ICT in the educational system because this will facilitate Teaching and learning at all levels of education.
On the successes chalked so far, Mr. Haroon said children hitherto who were ignorant on ICT tools have now been introduced to ICT tools hence their enthusiasm has been whipped up since they are now aware of its usefulness. He mentioned that students now access educational websites for text books and other educational information. He further said an ICT policy has been developed by the Ministry of Education with the support of the Global e-schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI), coupled with the setting up of the National ICT in Education coordinating Committee.
In his concluding words, Mr. Haroon said “Even though ICT is going to play a major role in this current educational system, a lot more things are yet to be put in place. The planning should have been done years ago before the policy pronouncement and implementation”
When he took his turn to speak, the Assistant Headmaster of St. Charles Minor Seminary in Tamale, Mr. George Nego Fugluu gave a background of educational reforms since the colonial days and educational reforms since independence. He said on January 7, 2002 a committee composed of 29 knowledgeable Ghanaians drawn from across a section of stakeholders in the education sector chaired by Prof. Jophus Anamuah-Mensah then Vice Chancellor of University of Education Winneba were to address deficiencies of the 1987 Reforms in the area of Objectives, Content, Administration and Management, quality, equitableness and economic utility, to discuss among other issues the structure of education and issues affecting the development and delivery of education, constrained access to different levels of the educational ladder, Information and Communication Technology, and distance education, Professional development, Management and financing of education.
Mr. Nego said while at the basic level the introduction of ICT sought to introduce pupils to Computer hardware and other peripherals (Touching, feeling and manipulation of the hardware components) and having fun, games, and creative works (drawing etc) using the computer, the inclusion of ICT at Secondary Education Level aimed at the aacquisition of basic ICT literacy, developing interest and use ICT for learning in other subjects, acquisition of knowledge for application of ICT in education and business, the use of the Internet to communicate effectively and the ability to follow basic ethics in the use of ICT.
He mentioned that it is expected that the knowledge and skills gained will help students to use ICT in almost all their courses at school and to access information for further learning.
Speaking on the achievements of the introduction of ICT into the school curriculum, he mentioned the following:
• Increasing computer awareness among students.
• Teaching and Learning has been made much easier with the use of ICT in schools.
• Students with high IQ can now find something to engage them meaningfully instead of indulging themselves in some social vices.
• Educational institutions have economic network with other organizations
• There is keen and healthy competition among schools in ICT knowledge sharing
• ICT at the school level sets the basis for further training in the Universities and Post Sec. Institutions
• A wide area network known as research and Educational Network (REN) has been established in Ghana with the support of World Bank to serve as nodes for the broad network for the Ghanaian Universities, Research institutions (CSIR) and Ghana Atomic Energy Commission
On the challenges, Mr. George Nego stated the following:
• Inadequate Trained Personnel to handle the Facilitation of the subject.
• Inadequate supply of teaching and learning materials
• Lack of Infrastructure
• Lack of Administrative support
• Lack of power supply in the Rural Areas.
• The lack of internet connectivity in most schools to broaden access to information
• High cost of ICT services and components.
• The brain drain syndrome in the area of ICT professional
On the way forward, the Assistant headmaster disclosed that ICT should be seen as an enabler, as a tool to benefit the whole of society and not only the elite and the urban areas. He also said the less privileged should be encouraged to use ICT tools to trade and to create wealth for the country, others must be proactively helped to use and benefit from ICT. He further stated that the quality of education should be continuously improved and this is aided by intensive and extensive use of ICT.
Mr. Aziz Ibn Shiraz, President of Youth Action Movement has bemoaned the way the Northern youth perceive and use cell phones. This came to light during the August session of the Northern ICT4D Series held in Tamale on 27th August 2009.
He traced the history of cell phone penetration into the
Mr. Aziz mentioned that some of the basic use of cell phones includes voice calls, text messages, radio and Internet. On what it can be used for, he mentioned that sending text messages reduces cost, minimizes time and saves energy. He added that in an era where the youth has become so obsessed in “Ghana Man Time”, using cell phones to set reminders will help the youth over come the issue of responding to appointments late.
He ended his presentation by charging the youth to, at the end of the expiration of their talk time, ask themselves of what value the talk time had added to their lives. His concluding words were, “Technology was intended to make our lives better, to save cost and energy. Let us make the most use of it”
When he took his turn, A Doctor in Alternative medicine, Dr/Alt. Amomba Bruno gave a presentation on the use of cell phones and their health implications. He compared cell phones to microwave devices and disclosed that cell phones have thermal effects. He further mentioned that other effects of the use of cell phones include reproductive effects, cataract, nerve degeneration, brain tumor and headache.
He urged all who make use of cell phones to alternate the ears when receiving and making calls. He also asked all who make use of cell phones to decrease the length of time used and rather send text messages, use hands free cell phones. He also advised all to receive and make calls under trees as trees block and absorb the radiations and gives proper oxygen.