While our dependence on technology is increasing with each passing day, there are still some places where there is a dearth of even basic gadgets such as computers. One such institution is Betenase M/A Junior High School in the town of Sekyedomase, Ghana. Owing to acute lack of funds, the school cannot provide computers to its students. But that doesn’t stop the students from learning about it, all thanks to 33-year-old Richard Appiah Akoto.
Ever since his childhood, Richard, who is also popularly known by his Facebook name Owura Kwadwo Hottish, loved everyone around him selflessly. He didn’t care for materialistic pleasures and instead, went out of his way to help the ones in need. His calling for helping the ones in need led him to quit his lucrative job as a manager of an upscale hotel and head back to his native place.
When Richard started teaching in Betenase School, he noticed that there was literally no computer in the school for six years. Yet, the students had Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in their syllabus and were required to pass the subject in order to progress to high school. Richard knew that pleading to the government wouldn’t bring about any changes. So he took matters into his own hands and started teaching computer on his blackboard.
He draws the entire layout of MS Word on the blackboard with all the icons at the right places, meticulously detailed. Not only that, he also teaches his students the basics of operating a computer, like turning on the computer and shutting it down, components of the personal computer, and creating folders. He does this task every single day as other subjects are also taught in the school.
His 100-plus students are happy about the drawings because they make the explanation about launching MS Word simple for them. And this is not the first time he has illustrated IT technology on the board.
“I have been doing this every time the lesson I’m teaching demands it. I’ve drawn monitors, system units, keyboards, mouse, formatting toolbar, drawing toolbar, Save As dialog box and so on,” says Richard.
His efforts recently gained international attention as one of his Facebook posts went viral. Felicitations and compliments poured in from all across the globe regarding his dedication for teaching. Rebecca Enonchong, a tech entrepreneur from Cameroon, shared the image with Microsoft Africa on Twitter asking if they could provide the class with some computers. In reply, Microsoft Africa promised to provide a computer to the teacher and access to free professional development resources.
Across the continent of Africa, many poor parents are forced to choose private schools over free public primary schools due to the lack of resources in government-owned schools. In these dire situations, Richard’s efforts and commitment is a ray of hope to the ambitious parents and their students. He is example for teachers in developing countries like Ghana, when ingenious improvisation is a must to fill the gaps that governments are unable to provide.
Update: Before Microsoft could help Richard, Indian firm NIIT’s Ghana division donated five computers, a laptop and books to his school. Picture:
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