2020 in 2010 was foretold to be a year of diverse inventions and an all-time high for advancements in technology and almost everything known to man. This might as well be true but with a different catalyst in our scenario-COVID-19.
The pandemic has caused more than 1.6 billion students to be temporarily out of school in about 161 countries. This figure represents about 80% of the entire world’s enrolled students. Ghana has suffered immensely with a population of about 8 million students also being temporarily out of school.
The internet and mobile usage penetration across Africa is nowhere near that of our counterparts on other continents. This low level of penetration has also impeded the ability of lecturers and students alike to keep academic activities vibrant.
Ford, a global powerhouse in the automobile industry as part of its contributions towards the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic introduced the Ford Fund COVID-19 College Challenge. This competition was opened to ENACTUS, a humanitarian club that has found its way into almost all tertiary institutions across the world. The goal of this competition-fund various innovative projects that are presented and deemed feasible upon scrutiny by Ford’s panel of experts with an amount of $16000 and at least a $1000 to each institution should their proposal be accepted. Out of 152 countries that have active ENACTUS presence, only 14 countries could present various projects.
The overwhelming number of projects received from this world-wide invite could not be better put by Mike Schmidt, director of education and global community development at Ford when he said,
“When this challenge was presented, we were overwhelmed by the number of proposals and creative ideas that were submitted.”
Out of the 14 countries from which various universities submitted their proposals, ENACTUS-KNUST came up among the top 9 universities with other 8 universities from Brazil, Egypt, Eswatini, India, Kenya, South Africa, the U.K, and the U.S.A. The project that secured ENACTUS-KNUST a spot in this global challenge’s top 9 universities is Project ReL (Remote Learning).
Project ReL is a proposal made by ENACTUS-KNUST as a way to help the Ghanaian community, specifically students in Basic schools, Junior High Schools, and Senior High Schools who have been adversely affected academically by the prolonged stay at home in this COVID-19 stay-at-home period. The project is to see the creation of an online platform for various levels of students from basic schools to senior high schools. Project ReL’s passion to facilitate learning has also seen the prospect of the development of a platform for some physically challenged students such as those who cannot hear too well.
The platform will also come equipped with learning modules that cover the Ghana Education Service syllabus which will aid in revision and personal studies. There is also a suggestion of a quiz section that comes inbuilt with past BECE and WASSCE questions for students in JHS and SHS respectively. The crème de la crème of Project ReL is the inbuilt COVID-19 Info bot which gives instant information about the virus, various safety measures, and real-time statistics of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Info bot will come equipped with the ability to speak English, French, and 5 other local languages.
The ingenuity of the Ghanaian public has been brought to bear and we hope to see more of such innovations from institutions, communities, and individuals even as we contribute our quota to the fight against this pandemic.
Hypercitigh.com | Prince Kofi Guadzi |KNUST