Welcoming Class of 2020 with a style @ BlueCrest College Ghana

Campus life of fresh students at BlueCrest College Ghana started with a week long orientation followed by red carpet and an exciting party. It was really fun to welcome Class of 2020 with a style. Welcome Freshers. Welcome Class of 2020.

Google to train a million young Africans in digital skills, BlueCrest Ghana students became their training beneficiaries

By 2020 there’ll be half a billion internet users in Africa, presenting an opportunity for African businesses and digital entrepreneurs. Youth unemployment across Africa is high – developing digital entrepreneurship and creating new job opportunities for young people is critical to Africa’s transformative growth. But digital skills are still under-developed, making it harder for African economies to get the most out of the web.

To help close this knowledge gap, Google is today pledging to train 1 million young people in Africa in digital skills in the next year, as part of our contribution to growing Africa’s digital economy. This information was made public by Google on their official blog for Africa.

To be a part of this digital skill enhancement, on 5th September 2016 eighty (80) BlueCrest College Ghana students were trained by Mr. Simon W. Alangde from Wineloya, a training partner of Google in Ghana for Digital Skills project.  As part of the train the trainer programme, Wineloya first trained eight (8) selected trainers, including the Rector, Registrar and Associate Dean (Academics), from BlueCrest College on Digital Skills. These trainers will subsequently train other students on Google Digital Skills at BlueCrest College Ghana.

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Mr. Simon from Wineloya along with Mr. Vivek Verma, Rector, Mr. Sujith Jayaprakash, Registrar and Dr. Balamurugan E., Associate Dean (Academic Affairs) BlueCrest College after the Digital Skills Training

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Wineloya, a digital advertising company based in Ghana, with a focus on providing excellent training in digital, has been selected as one of the training partners for the recently announced Digital Education training program by Google.

Digify Africa Image source: http://digifyafrica.com

The role of libraries towards national development: Lessons from other countries

Libraries make important contributions to national development. The significance of this article is to assess the roles libraries play in national development and support the advocacy for the inclusion of libraries and access to information in national development plans that will contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (“UN 2030 Agenda”) and the Africa we want (“AU 2063 Agenda”).

Libraries have shown that they can drive meaningful progress across agenda. The SDGs are universal; each country is responsible for the development and implementation of national strategies to achieve the SDGs, as well as monitor and evaluate the progress of achievement of these SDGs.

The inclusion of library communities in the development of national strategies will offer them the opportunity to contribute towards the advancement of development priorities. Advocacy is an essential tool used by libraries to justify their role as engines of local development, and ensure that they are resourced adequately to contribute towards national development by standing as a pillar in educating and repackaging information for better consumption and understanding by a targeted populace.

Declaration

In August, 2015, The Cape Town declaration was inspired by the principles enshrined in the charter for African Cultural Renaissance, the global sustainable development agenda and the level of commitment to prioritise and resource libraries as part of Africa agenda 2063. Hence, the deliberation on the status of libraries in the continent and the progress required to meet the global sustainable development goal.

Among the objectives (only four are listed here) to improve African libraries with the aim of contributing to national development. They are; providing the necessary resources for the development of African Libraries to respond to modern day challenges and provide access to merging technologies; fast tracking the implementation of continental innovation strategies to improve ICT and knowledge management; encouraging the sharing of skills, collection and preservation of African stories from our own communities and encouraging the development and promotion of local content libraries in Africa as part of the promotion of the African Renaissance and Pan Africanism.

GLA

The Ghana Library Association (GLA) was founded in 1962 and is registered under the professional body decree NRCD 143 of the 1973 with a registration number PB 21. The GLA has the mandate to unite all librarians and institutions in Ghana interested in library and librarianship

It is also to be instrumental in promoting the establishment and development of library and information services, bibliographical work and library co-operation, while also promoting and safeguarding the professional interest of librarians

In effect the GLA is the overall head of all libraries in Ghana, be it public, academic or special libraries. One would ask, is the GLA still functional? If yes, how effective, organised or united is it? As stated in the constitution of the association “to unite all librarians and institutions in library and “librarianship”.

Can Ghana realise agendas 2030 and 2063?

The success or failure of Ghana in the achievement of the targets set by both agenda is dependent on two main factors. These are a recognition of libraries and librarians as an engine of access to information (timely, well packaged, targeted and readily available and less expensive).

The second factor is that the advocacy and strategies adopted by the GLA should be in partnership with government and all stakeholders.

Libraries are proven to be cost-effective partners for advancing development priorities. Many countries have designated libraries to be repositories for vital information and knowledge. This makes libraries an important venue for information about personal development, hence; national development. Libraries are already supporting progress towards access to information and national building.

Promoting literacy

In goal two of the UN agenda and aspiration one of the AU agenda 2063, the objective is to eradicate poverty at all levels, in all walks of life. Other countries have relied on libraries to pass on valuable information to the prospective targets, example, in the attempt to increase the production and income for small-scale food producers or farmers.

In Romania, public library staff  trained under the Biblionet programme worked with other partners including the Association of Libraries of Romani (ANBPR), the Ministry of Culture, local and national government and public libraries across the country, Biblionet helped libraries to breathe new life into Romanian communities by helping 100,000 farmers to use ICT.

Could the Ghana Library Association and Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders learn something?  Is there no such thing in Ghana? Are both the Ministry of Agriculture and the GLA slumbering or is it a case of lack of creativity/innovation? If  efforts are already made by the GLA to play a key role in information dissemination, then it must be carried out as a matter of urgency. The cocoa and other cash crop production can gain an immense growth and advancement when such innovative ways are employed.

Promoting lifelong learning opportunities without limitations towards religion, gender and age. The UN agenda goal four and goal five and the AU agenda aspiration six, targets the development of people by ensuring quality, equitable education among all ages.

These targets seek to achieve the enhancement of the potentials in women and the youth not leaving out anyone. This is an education that would be sustainable and a lifelong journey. People will know where, how, when to find information, preserve and disseminate it without distortion.

Public libraries in Botswana have taken large strides towards supporting government objectives under its National Vision 2016, which includes introducing ICT access, improving the computer skills of library users, and enabling users to be successful in business, education and employment.  With this vision people trained in ICT can develop in so many ways in their diverse professions with access to readily available information.

Partnerships for literacy

When the government equips the GLA properly, providing enough budgetary support and infrastructure, libraries across the nation will stand as a meaningful tool to effect a long lasting change. All over the world, there has been practical success stories about library playing a key role in poverty alleviation,  education, better well-packaged information for farmers, improving the quality of lives and encouraging lifelong learning.

In Sri Lanka, the government and its partners initiated a programme called the Nenasala programme. This initiative is run to increase  digital literacy and access to information among the nations’ remote and poorest areas.

Nenasala (Wisdom Outlet) is a telecentre project by the Government of Sri Lanka. Developed under the e-Sri Lanka Initiative which was implemented by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka. Communication centres are continuously built by the government in rural areas to fight poverty, develop culture and commerce, and sustain peace. There are 751 such centres in the country.

In Mongolia,  about 15,000 persons either with poor vision or blind are employed. In the year 2010, Ulaanbaatar Public Library (UPL) and the Mongolia National Association of the Blind built two recording studios to create talking books in a digital DAISY format that has increased the amount of accessible materials, and opened up new worlds of learning for the visually impaired people.

In conclusion, the significant contributions and usefulness of libraries and librarians cannot be over emphasised. In the attempt to achieve these goals and aspirations, policy makers, the government and the GLA should come together to form a formidable force with a core-defined path to follow to make our world better.

Williams Bandoma

The writer is a librarian at BlueCrest College Ghana and an information professional. His email is: bandomawills@ymail.com