Computer Access in GhanaAs one of the world’s poorest African countries, Ghana has a poverty rate that touches roughly 55 percent of its population, with only 24% possessing internet access. This acute problem owes itself in part to a large number of its youth, who grow up in the absence education accessibility. However, educators have begun to combat the ailments of impoverished Ghanaian communities. To do this, they utilize the fundamental cornerstone of a globalized world- computer technology. Computers have empowered Ghana’s poverty-stricken youth. As a result, they gain greater access to future job security and change the course of their own lives, along with the communities they inhabit. Below are three ways that computers and new technologies are improving the standard of living in Ghana.

Teaching 21st-Century Job Skills to Teens

The inclusion of computer access within the Ghanaian education system allows teens to develop valuable 21st-century technology literacy. It stands to open critical doors to higher education. In an era that is inarguably dominated by mobile phones, laptops, and wireless communications, access proves paramount. Programs like those presented by Ghana Code Club, which has taught nearly 1,700 students and trained over 300 teachers, enrich Ghana’s youth specifically with computer science as well as coding languages classes, paving the way for future innovations, as well as national economic growth.

Increasing Earning Potential

A Pew Survey showed that computer users connected to the internet are more likely to have higher incomes. The University of Ghana offers a dedicated computer science course that nurtures software programmers, who have the potential to earn up to three times as much as their professors. However, only through expansion will these opportunities allow them to truly reach a wide demographic. Increased computer access in Ghana is difficult to ensure. Currently, only around 36 people graduate from the University of Ghana’s technology program annually. Vast areas of the country are still shielded from these positive impacts.

Breaking the Gender Stereotype

Despite the computer’s role in expanding social and economic standards in Ghana, many traditional African communities restrict women and girls on the basis of acceptable gender roles. Although, new non-governmental organizations like STEMbees, a Ghana-based organization, inspire and allow young girls to break the stigma and enter into the fields of coding science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Other organizations, like UNESCO’s Girls Can Code, also work to fight the ongoing battle against gender stereotypes in the African educational sphere. Methods that implement computer stations in Ghanaian villages and equip new schools with current technology continue to increase computer access in Ghana.

Ghana now finds itself in the unique position of being on the verge of a technological revolution that coincides with its industrial revolution. Each of the two transformational eras is set to drive the country towards a prosperous future. This future, additionally, carries with it the promise of greater opportunity for Ghanaian children. Average Ghanaian students gaining access to computer technology furthers the assurance of a better standard of living for Ghanaian citizens. Over time, this development can carry on for generations to come.

Mihir Gokhale
Photo: Flickr

Better Internet Access in Africa

Africa stands as a vast and untapped continent that holds high promise for harnessing the power of the Internet. As better Internet access in Africa increases, more people are using the tools of the Internet to empower themselves. They are additionally using it to fuel innovation to find solutions to many of their problems. A term that has started gaining emphasis concerning the Internet in Africa is The Internet of Things. It presents a harmony between hardware and software systems toward the goal of automating many different aspects of society. According to McKinsey & Company, the Internet of Things “has a total potential economic impact of $3.9 trillion” in Africa, meaning that Africans who properly tap into that potential can wield its power to empower themselves.

An important aspect of the Internet of Things is how simple it is for common African citizens to create apps that can provide amazing solutions that address specific and local problems. With a basic education in technological skills, anyone can bring electricity to a village or proper air conditioning to houses in their neighborhood.

Investing in Better Internet Access in Africa

Many global internet companies are attempting to accelerate the expansion of the Internet in Africa by heavily investing in the continent. One example is that “with, Facebook wants to provide millions of people…in Africa, with access to the Internet.” This access would be provided for free. Africans can harness this Internet for startups and other entrepreneurial pursuits. These pursuits can boost African nations’ ability to be competitive in the global economy.

In the Congo, Tujiung is “a computer resource center for women coping with violence.” This is essential for the recovery of many women who are victims of the violence that has become rampant due to the political instability in the country. Tujiung provides women with access to information, education and support services through the Internet. This line of communication can help women effectively cope with violence. Additionally, it empowers them to move past being a victim and strive for a normal life.

Making Africa Computer-Literate

With overall low computer literacy in Africa, women are striving to fill in open jobs. For example, a volunteer group called Help to Help attempts to improve gender equality by having boot camps that teach young Tanzanian women how to code and develop their tech skills. Those girls are empowered by their newly developed skills to get into tech careers that propel them to the forefront of innovation in Africa.

The Internet, with its amazing capabilities, provides promise for the biggest continent in the world, Africa. The Internet is rapidly growing in Africa. Better Internet access in Africa results in rapidly increasing empowerment for African citizens. Women are pushing to gain technological literacy. Their skills give them the ability to gain more equality in the workplace and society at large.

-Anish Kelkar
Photo: Flickr

EtisalatEtisalat contributed 30 desktop computers in an attempt to improve Information Communication Technology (ICT) education at the Nuhu Bamali Primary School in Kano State. Etisalat hopes the computer donations will raise ICT literacy at the primary school.

The computers were presented to the school during a commissioning of facilities ceremony where Etisalat also unveiled school renovations, according to It News Africa.

The Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Etisalat, Ibrahim Dikko, said the donation was in line with their commitment to improving education in Nigeria through partnerships with the government.

ICT education has become a basic component of learning and will provide a greater benefit if students in primary and secondary schools are exposed to it early on. The company is dedicated to creating an improved and conducive learning environment for Nigerian children, according to Dikko.

Headmistress of Nuhu Bamali Primary School, Hajia Asmau Mohammed Lawan, hopes the computers will go a long way in giving pupils the cutting edge education to prepare them for their individual career paths according to It News Africa.

In October 2015, Etisalat donated desktop computers to the ICT center of Girls’ Government College in Nigeria, which is also located in Kano State.

According to Etisalat’s Head of Government and Community Relations, Mohammed Suley-Yusuf, “Etisalat is proud to be able to contribute positively to achieving the government’s objective of improving Kano State, especially in the area of education.”

Etisalat Group is a telecommunications provider who offers services to 18 countries throughout the Middle East, Asia and Africa. It is one of the world’s leading telecom groups and ranks among the most profitable telecom groups in the world. They work with the British Council to provide a Pan-Nigerian teacher training program and they continue to focus on improving education through their Adopt-a-School program.

The company is currently working on an initiative to create an Etisalat Telecommunications Engineering Postgraduate Program within the education sector.

Jordan Connell

Sources: Etisalat, It News Africa, Prompt News Online
Photo: Manic

While the UN recently approved the Sustainable Development Goals in January 2016, eradicating poverty and combating climate change are considered the top two global problems. More than ever before, computer science education will be crucial for students in low-income communities in order to avoid poverty.

In today’s world of technology, it is imperative for students to become exposed to computer technology at a young age.

To ensure children learn about computer technology at an early age, New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced that within 10 years, all students attending the city’s public schools would be required to take computer science courses.

New York City plans to spend $81 million over the next 10 years and estimates training 5,000 teachers in the field, which could be a potential issue.

“The difficulty is getting enough teachers who are trained in it, and trained well enough to make it a good introduction to computer science,” said Barbara Ericson, the director of computing outreach at Georgia Tech’s College of Computing. “And if you are well-trained in computer science, you can make a lot more money in industry than teaching.”

Of the $81 million needed, half of the money will be raised through private sources, including the Robin Hood Foundation and venture capitalist Fred Wilson.

Interestingly, a survey done by Google found that many poor parents want their children to learn computer science education so they have the opportunity to lead a better life.

While 15.3 percent of New York City lives in poverty, the opportunity for these students to be exposed to computer science at a young age could change the course of poverty and their futures.

“Stimulating the curiosity of today’s young students for math and science is critical for creating tomorrow’s physicists, mathematicians and cosmologists,” said Rocky Kolb, Dean of the Physical Sciences Division at the University of Chicago.

With knowledge of computer education, students have the opportunity to attend college studying the field and could possibly work in New York City’s fastest-growing technology sector.

“If we can get them earlier, I think we can get them excited about it,” Mr. Wilson said.

Alexandra Korman

Sources: Gigaom, NY Times, United States Census, University of Chicago,
Photo: blogs.perficient