A successful ORT computer training course for children in Ghana is to be extended thanks to a UNESCO grant.
The scheme in the coastal town of Elmina has already helped transform more than 200 girls’ opportunities, academic achievements and confidence.
As part of the course, youngsters use online learning programs including Duolingo, Coding for Kids and E-Learning for Kids. They are provided with access to tablets and introduced to graphic design, coding, 3D modelling and other STEM topics.
The extension of the project will see three mixed cohorts of 180 boys and girls from the town take on the STEM curriculum in the new academic year.
Driven by local demand, World ORT approached UNESCO and will now train 10 new volunteer instructors and recruit the participants.
The trainers are prepared by experts from the organization’s Israeli arm, Kadima Mada, and develops their potential through classroom training activities and workshops with professional local women who act as mentors.
The course will strengthen and cultivate 21st century skills with an emphasis on teamwork and self-learning, creativity and entrepreneurship.
Josephine Eshun, who completed the program as a mentor and student, said: “We learnt about physical computing and the use of the Scratch program in building interactive systems. Learning with the Israeli trainers was an excellent experience and a great opportunity for me. I have heard a lot about Israel’s advanced technology and other creative skills in coding, game design, video animations and more.
“The training has boosted my creative skills and problem-solving abilities. Children learn by doing, so integrating Scratch in their lessons will facilitate their learning with a lot of activities.”
Celeste Angus Gonzalez, Director of World ORT’s International Cooperation program, said: “The new grant will enable us to equip the instructors and students with the necessary tools and understanding to integrate into the professional world and pursue careers in STEM.
“The program was designed to empower the women instructors and provide role models and mentors to motivate young girls. It also encourages community service and volunteering.”
Children in Ghana face poverty, health problems, violence and inadequate living conditions on a huge scale. The ORT project runs in partnership with local partners at the Nduom Community Library and Coconut Grove Hotel, is accessible to all community members.