What does a technology teacher with no computers do? He reaches for the chalk.
This isn’t an obscure riddle — it’s exactly what Richard Appiah Akoto, a teacher in Sekyedumase, a town in Ghana, has been doing.
Akoto teaches information and communication technology, a subject that has been part Ghana’s national high school entrance exam since 2011, but the school he teaches at has no computers, Quartz reported. So the 33-year-old had to get creative.
In order to teach the students the material they need to know to pass the exam and go onto high school, Akoto has taken to drawing computer screens on his classroom’s blackboard.
"I wanted [my students] to know or see how the window will appear if they were to be behind a computer," Akoto told CNN. "Always wanted them to have interest in the subject so I always do my possible best for them."
On a whim, Akoto — who goes by Owura Kwadwo Hottish on social media — posted photos of his teaching method on Facebook. In his lighthearted post, Akoto said that teaching ICT under the circumstances is “very funny” and in his photos a hand drawn Microsoft Word window visible on the blackboard.
But he never expected what came next.
“This is not my first time [of drawing] it. I have been doing it anytime I am in the classroom…I like posting pictures on Facebook so I just felt like [sharing it],” Akoto said. “I didn’t know it would get the attention of people like that.”
Dozens of people commented on Akoto’s post praising his creativity and effort and the photos have been shared thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook until, at the urging of one Twitter user, Microsoft took notice.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Microsoft said it would send Akoto “a device from one of [its] partners” and additional resources.
Supporting teachers to enable digital transformation in education is at the core of what we do. We will equip Owura Kwadwo with a device from one of our partners, and access to our MCE program & free professional development resources on https://t.co/dJ6loRUOdg— Microsoft Africa (@MicrosoftAfrica) February 27, 2018
And while that’s great news, it’s unlikely to be enough.
Akoto said his school would need around 50 computers to be able to effectively teach students what they need to know to pass the the quirky ICT portion of the national exam.
The exam’s ICT section — which has not been updated since the topic was added to the exam in 2011 — requires students to know the parts of a system unit and monitor, how to connect them, and how to boot up a desktop, Akoto told Quartz. This meant that Akoto couldn’t even bring in his personal laptop — which no longer has separate components like old desktops did — to demonstrate for the class.
While Akoto has maintained a positive attitude about his challenging teaching circumstances, his creative methods are a response to a serious problem.
According to UNICEF, many students in Ghana do not have access to quality education. A lack of adequate educational resources and materials means that many classrooms are overcrowded, schools are in dire need of more textbooks, and qualified teachers are in short supply.
Global Citizen campaigns in support of equal access to education, but millions of children around the world are not able to access quality education. You can take action here to call for more education funding to ensure that every child has the chance to learn.