The Minister of Education Youth and Sport Dr Minkailu Bah Wednesday disclosed that, Information Communication Technology (ICT) will soon become part of the school curriculum.
He made this disclosure yesterday at the Government Secondary Technical School at Congo Cross whilst launching of the fixed internet learning centre provided by Knowledge Aid Sierra Leone (KASL).
The Minister noted that KASL has grown from a baby and is fast becoming a giant, adding that, and this all started with the desire of one person Professor Eldred Jones.
Dr Bah pointed out that, Professor Jones realized that the children of Sierra Leone were missing out on ICT, especially educational materials, because of their inability to use the computer and also to access the internet.
Government he said is highly interested in programs of this nature, noting that KASL has taken the initiative to fill a vacuum.
He revealed that government, through his ministry has provided funds to promote and sustain their programs even to other parts of the country.
The Education Minister disclosed that plans are already underway to extend the operation of Fixed Internet Learning Centres (FILCs) to the east and central areas, disclosing that FILCs will be in other parts of the country by next year.
Where it is not possible to set up a FILC, he said “we are thinking about a Mobile Internet Learning Centre” adding that successful implementation of these projects can only be achieved if the necessary funds are available.
Dr Bah maintained that, ICT is the way forward for education and development, stating that “we cannot allow our children to be left behind”.
“We must be proud of KASL because it has taken the lead to provide IT knowledge and internet access in a safe, educational environment”.
He revealed that this facility is the first in Sierra Leone to be powered by environmentally friendly Power supply (solar energy).
The minister encouraged parents to become more involved in their children’s education, noting that schools and tertiary institutions offering ICT courses can liaise with KASL to use the facilities for their practical and examinations.
In his statement Mr Geoffrey G Hulme chairman of the United Kingdom support group said that KASL brought the program in Sierra Leone because they saw that the country is in terrific needs because of the civil war.
He added that, the idea of using school pupils to use internet came from Professor Jones who is his friend and he then went ahead to launch the charity.
The chairman noted that a year later they were able to provide some capital for the launch of the centre, adding that the centre was for school pupils to download learning materials which will help them with their studies. In his maiden speech Professor Eldred Jones said that “unless we are able to teach our pupils computer skills and enable them to access the internet we will not be able to be in the front line of educational development not only in the world but even in Africa.”
This, he said, is a new development adding “we develop this centre where pupils from all the secondary schools will register and come in groups to take courses on computers and they will learn how to access the internet for themselves so that they can download the materials of their interests.”
One of the most expensive part of the project, he said is to obtain connectivity with the internet.
Principal of Government Secondary Technical school Eric Kamara said that KASL, under the chairmanship of Professor Jones has over the years been very helpful to the school, by providing basic learning materials from the internet on computer disk that has been special tailored to meet the needs of pupils.
He thanked members of KASL and the UK support group for their support and also to all the donors without whose help he said it would have been almost impossible to realize.