DELIVERING TECH SOLUTIONS IN EDUCATION TO RURAL AREAS IN GHANA
By Paul Ndiho
Education remains the fundamental tool to alleviate poverty in most African communities. In Ghana, TechAide – A technology social enterprise, has come up with a different solution to deliver educational content to rural schools using new technology.
Having access to a library in most parts of Africa can be a challenge but in Ghana – it just got easier, thanks to TechAide a technology social enterprise that has developed E-solutions to tackle some of the country’s continuing education challenges. Kafui Prebbie is one of the brains behind TechAide.
“We have developed products specifically for education. And we’ve been in the space for close to ten years delivering technology solutions in education and supporting rural development. And two of our core products that we’ve developed over the period is EduLab, which is an education computing solution for schools and the latest one which is Asanka, which is our content delivery system.” As the country becomes more connected to the internet, educators and publishers are finding new ways to reach young audiences and their developing minds. Many students have never experienced the world through reading because they don’t have a library. But TechAide is changing this reality, and they’re doing it is through digital libraries called EduLab. “My passion has always been to bridge the digital divide – to bring technology into schools. Because I’m a trained educationist and I have the passion for technology. So the idea is how we bridge the gap, technologies that exist in the major cities, and rural areas do not have access too.” TechAide has built over 70 EduLabs in rural areas where funding, teachers, and resources are scarce. The technology is not free to schools, but TechAide has partnered with IBM Corporate Service Corps, Ghana’s Ministry of Education and several banks to provide funding. “We partnered with international nonprofits to have accurate low-voltage technology solutions, and so the computer labs that we do set up are specifically low-voltage and consume about the one-tenth of the power of a standard computing solution.” Kafui Prebbie says through their programs, students can access approved educational content, including audio, video, and interactive games and with IBM’S global pro-bono consulting program they’ve been able to take this initiative to the next level. “What that did to us was, it helped us to be able to change even the trajectory of how we were going to provide those technology solutions into the schools. With this, we have developed the architecture in such a way that it’s even more relevant to the needs of our communities.” Gina Tesla, Director Corporate Citizenship, and corporate affairs says Ghana has long been a launch pad for innovative collaboration, making it logical for IBM to partner with TechAide in Ghana. “What we want to do is help provide the highest skills possible, to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.” To date, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps, and TechAide are working very closely together to support girl’s education under the “Let Girls Learn initiative” launched by former U.S President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama in 2015. “The whole premise is to help support greater access to education for adolescent girls. There are at least sixty-two million young girls worldwide who are not receiving an education.” Kafui Prebbie says TechAide’s solution to deliver educational content in rural schools has potential to be replicated in many African countries. TechAide has its sights set on another innovative idea called ASANKA which means ‘community bowl’ — it’s a collection of important content for everyone to access.