Computer Center at Junior High School

  • Education
  • Youth
  • Technology
  • Ghana
This project is led by Hedy Pajonk, a Volunteer from Illinois

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Our project is the renovation of a building to create a computer center to be shared by two villages. The building was originally intended as a center for technical education but that mission was abandoned several years ago and the building has deteriorated. The exterior steps need to be repaired and a new floor need to be laid. We will also replace rusted window frames and raise the ledges to prevent anyone from seeing into the building from outside. Window louvres and security grates will be installed, as well as an iron security door. We also need to bring electrical service to this building and have it wired by an electrician. Each village has a primary school, but they share a common Junior High School (JHS) adjacent to which the computer center will be located.Students currently have computer classes, however, they are relegated to looking at what the teacher draws on a blackboard, or memorizing the parts, functions and uses of a computer. The headmaster, teachers and students are all painfully aware of the drawbacks in such learning. The project will provide a secure classroom building and ten (10) computers to start to give students the opportunity for a productive educational and professional future. Children in economically depressed rural communities cannot succeed or even compete in higher education or job markets because they have no hands-on computer skills. The potential impact of this project, therefore, is great. The communities will provide at least 25% of the cost of the project in land, labor, materials and cash. The local governing body, the district assembly, has committed to helping the villages arrange for electrical service for the building. Our project steps will be to clear the surrounding land, remove trees which are damaging the building, bring in electrical service, repair or replace damaged building components and set up the computer equipment in the classroom. The communities have approved the Construction Manager, an experienced and trusted local contractor who also has been a preacher at the villages’ Methodist churches for the last ten (10) years.

In a prioritized comparison of a dozen development projects, the villages identified, in a PACA meeting, voted consistently for a computer center as one of the two most important projects. The communities worked together to identify a space/building, which they donated to the project. The building is currently being used as break room for teachers. In community meetings with the district assembly representative, the communities agreed to provide cash, labor and materials. Committee chairmen from both villages have committed to organizing communal labor and managing the long term maintenance of the building and managing the funds from cashew sales to sustain the project in the future. The contractor is local and works in both villages. Most importantly, recognizing that additional computers will need to be purchased in future, technology will change, computers will need repairs, upgrades will be needed, etc., both communities planted cashew seedlings in 2018 specifically to provide ongoing income to sustain the project well into the future.

Committee chairmen from both villages have agreed to take responsibility for the sales of cashew from seedlings planted last year. Part of the monies have been earmarked for the sustainability of the computer center. The committee chairmen will keep the money separate and will work with the Junior High School headmaster to determine when funds need to be withdrawn for computer related operational costs. Concerning the possibility of theft, it was decided that iron doors will be used at the entrances, window ledges will be raised above eye level, windows and doors will have burglar proof metals. In coordination with the ICT teachers, the PCV or a teacher will open the computer center for interested students after school or in the evening at least twice a week. It will focus on reviewing lessons, practice and answering student questions. The headmaster has confirmed that a computer club will be formed and the PCV will follow up on it. There are already students who come to extra computer classes during school breaks whenever they are offered, even though there are no computers. The ICT teachers will handle routine upgrades and maintenance. We Also have multiple outside sources for IT support. The computer teachers know of two computer repair shops in our market town. We will buy the computers from a vendor in the regional capital and that vendor also has a computer repair shop that can assist with after-sales service.

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