Friday, 30 November 2012

Ghana, Get Out the Vote! Our Vote is Our Voice in Election 2012

#GhanaDecides, #LetsVote, #OurVoteOurVoice
The 2012 general elections in Ghana is a week away, and the stakes are really high this time around. Candidates are tackling issues and policies in an unprecedented fashion, a sitting president joined the IEA presidential debates for the first time and social media is abuzz with election talk. It seems like the country can't wait for 7th December. Even though all indications point to the continuation of the traditional NDC-NPP duopoly, smaller parties like CPP and the newly-formed PPP are holding their own admirably- perhaps they will see a spike in their fortunes. It seems to many, though, that the PNC is on a downward trajectory.

The elections is not all about political parties and politicians. Ghana Decides, the foremost social media initiative around Elections 2012, recently launched Our Vote Our Voice, a campaign to get all Ghanaians to execute their civic duty in a peaceful manner.
"The purpose of the campaign is to promote communal voting... We believe peer-to-peer influence is still high and people could call up friends to vote or post updates to say #iVoted which may encourage others to vote.”
“Ghanaians must know that they have to vote because it is the in the interest of their children, their sisters and all of us. If you refuse to vote, it is like saying you don’t care about the people you love.”
Our Vote, Our Voice comes after many other  initiatives undertaken by this group of civic activists from BloggingGhana namely iRegistered, social media workshops, community engagements, Ghana Decides Tag, Speak Ghana, online discussions and event coverage.

Read the full press release on

Online and offline forms have been created to to receive pledges from registered voters. Ghana Decides volunteers will follow-up pledges with emails and phone calls to encourage all those who pledged to go out and vote in the election. 

Join the conversation by following @ghanadecides on Twitter, liking the Ghana Decides Facebook page and subscribing to the YouTube Channel. #LetsVote!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Putting Education to Work: The Role of ICT in Skills Development

The Ghana launch of the tenth UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report was held at the British Council, Accra, last Wednesday 14th November. It was put together by the Accra office of UNESCO in collaboration with DFID, World Bank, Ministry of Education and the GhanaThink Foundation. The report's theme, "Youth and Skills: Putting Education to Work", is both interesting and very relevant to the times. 

Hiplife star and CEO of Lynx Entertaiment, Richie in a musical performance
A presentation by Prof Kwame Akyeampong, one of the report's authors, brought to the fore many failings of Ghana's educational system including inability of some basic school graduates to read, inaccessibility of education to the poorest, continuous low-enrollment of girls, late entry of pupils into education and lack of second-chance opportunities for school dropouts.While we thrive fairly well compared to most African countries, we're way off the mark considering our lofty developmental aspirations.

Prof Akyeampong: Investing in education and skills is good business. Every dollar invested gives ten-fold reward.
As part of the programme, six tables were set up to discuss different topics connected to the report. These were ICT and technology, The role of the private sector, An education for the world of work, Informal education and out-of-school children, Education/skills development for rural/disadvantaged women and Entrepreneurship. Each session had an expert and two or more youth leaders to coordinate  deliberations.

During the ICT and Technology session, a clear distinction was made between ICT as a school subject and ICT as a teaching and learning tool. It was noted that technology’s usefulness should not end after ICT classes but must permeate every aspect of the school curriculum.

The following challenges were noted as barriers to adoption of ICT in Education: 
  • Lack of basic infrastructure, including electricity and Internet 
  • Expensive equipment eg computer
  • Reluctance of older teachers to embrace ICTs 
  • Distraction suffered by students (as they abuse the use of technology)
 To overcome the challenges, some proposals were made: 
  • Put more attention on mobiles due to their ubiquity
  • Create synergies as different people on the table were involved in one project on the other  
  • Be more encouraging to people’s efforts. Part of OLPC’s challenges stems from lack of support  
  • Enforce the curriculum 
  • Set up rules/policy to moderate usage of technology by students
 We don’t have to try to get everything right from go since critical mass creates demand (for the resources) hence supply (by government or private sector) comes in. 

Participants shared their contacts so as to continue with the discussions and collaborate on projects they’re working on.The following projects and resources were mentioned: