Ghana's national literacy rate is 58%. Ada is an impoverished rural municipal located in the greater Accra region and it is only a two-hour drive from the city. Ada is made up of many rural communities where the majority of people farm, fish and mine salt. Community technology and literacy programs are new to this region and face significant infrastructural challenges in some parts, such as the lack of electricity or furniture. Academic materials are in short supply. For the current academic year there are a total of 22,624 enrolled students in 71 primary and junior high schools. About 17,000 of these students are in the primary schools, which highlights the alarming dropout rate of Ghanaian students as they progress through their school years.
The Ghana Education Service district office, the district parent/teachers' associations and Literate Africa project have designed a plan to significantly increase literacy rates and overall academic performance within a few short years:
- The 71 district schools have been divided into 8 'circuits'. Each circuit comprises between 5 to 13 schools, which are grouped based on their proximity to each other.
- Literate Africa Project, along with the support of other community based organizations and local business will build one Technology/Literacy center for each circuit. Each Technology/Literacy center will be housed in a central school.
- Students from each school will access the centers for computing courses and other academic programs at scheduled times.
- Literate Africa Project will donate one Book Box Library including at least 400 reading texts and support materials to each district school.
The first Technology/Literacy center was officially opened on July 23rd, 2010. The center is housed in Bedeku primary school and is currently being utilized by the 12 schools within the Kasseh circuit. At full capacity, 2,800 students will access the center in any given week. LAP is working towards completing the second Technology/Literacy center by December 2010.
Literate Africa Project will complete one new technology/literacy center quarterly. Also, LAP will donate book box libraries to all the schools within the beneficiary circuit on completion of the center. By the end of the 2010-2011 school year, we will complete four technology/literacy centers in the Ada district. By the end of the 2010-2011 school year we project to donate approximately 14,000 reading books and relevant texts to the district. Volunteers will begin assisting the staff at the centers and conducting special programs starting in late 2010.
Literate Africa Project will complete all 8 Technology/Literacy centers within 3 years, so every single school in the Ada district will have access to computers and textbooks.
Within the 3-year timeline all 71 schools will receive a Book Box Library each containing a minimum of 400 reading books and relevant textbooks.
- Literate Africa Project's technology centers and mobile libraries in the community - based settings will provide greater access to technology and other educational resources that promote literacy. The Ada program will provide stepping - stones to opportunity and equality for disadvantaged children in the area, mainly attributed to increased access to educational materials.
- In 2003, information and computing technology became part of Ghanaian national curriculum, so these technology/ literacy centers will allow the students of this impoverished region to compete on a national and global level. LAP will use the Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum. The curriculum is made up of basic, standard and advanced courses. The hands-on lessons range from beginner classes that teach the use of the mouse and keyboard, all the way to the advanced courses, including topics such as resume writing, social networking, emailing and web searching.
- The Book Box Libraries will equip the community with literacy skills for general life and continued learning. According to the UNESCO website, literate adults are more likely to send their children to school; literate people are better able to access continuing educational opportunities; and literate societies are better geared to meet pressing development. LAP professional development will include regular teacher workshops and educator handbooks for student and adult literacy courses.
- There will be a science club, spelling bees, math Olympiads, creative writing competitions and other special programs will be conducted at the centers for all the students within the circuit. This will be supplementary to the regular style of teaching in Ghanaian public schools, where instruction is mainly lecture - based and students learn by rote memorization. The education programs will focus on vocabulary development, critical thinking skills and logic. The educational programs will encourage a greater interest in science, technology and mathematics, particularly with younger students. More students will reach their full academic potential, show an increase in overall zeal and there will be greater community involvement towards the education of the children.