Over twenty students of the Knowledge Aid project yesterday graduated at the Government Technical Secondary School where the computer lab is being housed.
In his welcome address at the certification ceremony of the fixed internet learning centre, Director of the initiative technical team Professor Jonas Redwood-Sawyerr said the event is historic because it is the first certification ceremony for various programmes conducted by the first internet learning centre of Knowledge Aid Sierra Leone (KA-SL).
“This event is the culmination of many activities conducted by the Knowledge Aid project targeting the empowering of pupils and students in the art of using the internet for learning and research,” he intimated.
He explained that KA- SL is the brain child of Professor Eldred Jones and his British College mate.
This project, he said, “has established itself as the pioneer and has attracted the interest of many benefactors,” adding that “the Ministry of Education has been pivotal in its support from the inception of the project.”
The Education Minister, he said “has demonstrated a keen interest in its continuation, both by his encouragement and by ensuring the release of a yearly subvention for the operations of it programmes since his ascendancy to the position of minister.”
Professor Redwood-Sawyerr maintained that “the sustainability of the programme from all indications now rest largely- though not exclusively- from our local input and fund making effort and we have to rely on the talent drive of the chairman of the board- Professor Jones in soliciting assistance from the corporate world and his friends in the Untied Kingdom,” he explained.
Edna Jones, in her statement said the project has been the dream of the chairman of the board of management for over a decade, adding that indeed in 1997 at a public lecture, Prof Jones stressed the need for school leavers to be computer literate in order to equip them to cope with the world of work and further education.
Since then, Edna explained the dream has gradually taken shape “becoming a real ongoing project with the financial help and support of his friends both in the United Kingdom and locally,” she said.
Edna said the first phase of the project was to launch a pilot scheme to address the immediate concern of improving the dismal result of the West African School Certificates Examinations (WASCE) and to this end computers were provided in five centers and teachers were trained as managers to have internet access and download internet materials to supplement teaching resources.
That scheme is still ongoing and virtual text in key subjects are being produced and made available at a minimal cost at the Knowledge Aid office at Fourah Bay College, she said.
Edna disclosed that the chairman’s ultimate wish to establish a fixed internet center has finally been realized this year to provide hands on skills direct to pupils and students in using the computer starting with basic operations like switching it on and off and progressing to applying sophisticated skills to enable them to do their own research independently in their field of interest.
“I hope that the graduation of the first set of students would act as a catalyst for other students come next session,” she said.
Chairman KA-SL Prof Eldred Jones said computer is now the basis of almost all aspects of creation and invention in the modern world. “Through it use we can study and improve our own environment, invent and construct the means of improving our standard and style of living and join in the global effort to improve the human condition.”
Guest speaker of the ceremony Mr Henry Akintola Macauley encouraged the graduands to make the best use of the knowledge learnt, and advised them not to pervert the skill for unproductive purposes By Ophaniel Gooding