Ghana Education Service receives 40 computers, accessories from WHO
The Schools Health Education Programme (SHEP) unit of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Wednesday March 7, 2012, took delivery of 20 computers, 40 printers and accessories from the World Health Organisation (WHO), valued at about $50,881.98, at a short ceremony in Accra, Ghana.
The presentation thus brings to 40, the desktop computers so far presented to the GES by the WHO, to aid Ghana scale-up a Health Academy School project which it joined in 2006. The first presentation made up of 20 desktop computers, was valued at $17,117.00, which therefore brings the total value of computers, printers and accessories presented to GES, to $67,998.98.
The Health Academy School project, which is an innovative approach by WHO to improve health through technology, was launched in December 2003.
It was however not until 2006, that Ghana and The Gambia were selected in Africa to pilot the Project to promote health among adolescents in selected schools, with the programme being implemented in Ghana by the Schools Health Education Programme (SHEP) unit of the Ghana Education Service in 150 selected Basic and Senior High Public and Private schools across the country.
Nonetheless, only 40 selected schools out of the 150 implementing the project will receive computers, according to Ms. Ellen Gyekye, Programme Officer for WASH in Schools at the SHEP national office.
“In view of this, during the training, we requested the Regional Directors to select schools with ICT facilities to make the implementation of the programme easy. A National Implementation Committee has been established to see to the implementation of the programme,” she stated.
She said this will ensure sustainability, disclosing that members of the committee are drawn from the Ministries of Education, Health, Communication, Environment, Science and Technology, Information, National Road Safety Commission and the Ghana Education Service.
Ms. Ellen Gyekye explained that the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), were carefully selected because they are into ICT education and will support to incorporate the programme into their training programmes, for sustainability.
Receiving the computers, the Acting Director General of the GES, Mrs. Benedicta Naana Biney, represented by Deputy Director General, GES, Mr. Charles Aheto-Tsegah, said “An effective School Health Education Programme can be one of the most cost effective investments a nation can make to simultaneously improve education and health.”
He disclosed that Ghana was given approval by the WHO/Africa Regional Office (AFRO) office to scale-up the project, following the successful pilot in six Senior High and six Junior High schools during the 2007/2008 academic year.
“In September 2011, we converged here to receive 20 desktop computers and accessories for the scaling-up of the project. I wish to inform the Country Representative that the computers are already in the schools and our school children are making meaningful use of them,” he assured.
Mr. Aheto-Tsegah expressed the gratitude of the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service to WHO Ghana, Africa Regional Office and Headquarters (AFRO), for the immense support accorded GES and SHEP in the promotion of health in the schools and hoped the long-lasting relationship would enable them address other School Health Education intervention areas.
For his part, Dr. Daniel Kertize, WHO’s Country Representative who presented the computers on behalf of WHO/AFRO, said “this ceremony symbolises the commitment that the World Health Organisation, and I will say the Ghana Health Service and Ghana Education Service – the commitment that we all have in making sure that the Ghanaian youth grow up healthy and we know that the habits that you develop at a young age, things that you learn at that age, the habits that you develop as a result of that learning, are really the things that ensure your life is healthy and happy.”
“It is also symbolic of sectoral collaboration – it is very important the health and education sectors collaborate with each other to do this kind of work and we are very very happy to see this kind of collaboration to improve school health in Ghana,” he added.
He said WHO is very confident that the computers will be used for their intended purpose, be useful and that the organisation is very excited to participate in the scale-up.
After the presentation witnessed by Mrs. Mary Quaye of the Ministry of Education as well as Health Academy School Project implementation committee members, Ms. Ellen Gyekye, SHEP, GES, expressed the unit’s gratitude for the support from WHO, adding,” we hope for more support for other school health activities, not only School Academy Project.”
She also thanked all GES directors and SHEP staff for the immense support received from them for the schools, saying without them the national office of SHEP can do nothing.
By Edmund Smith-Asante