A teacher from Ghana has received worldwide praise after a photo of him teaching students how to use Microsoft Word on a blackboard went viral.
Because there are no computers at the middle school where he works he uses coloured chalk painstakingly to draw a version of the computer screen onto the blackboard.
In mid-February, he shared a Facebook post showing photos of his ‘needs must’ method of teaching.
‘Teaching of ICT in Ghana’s school is very funny,’ Owura Kwadwo – better known as Richard Appiah Akoto – said in a Facebook post alongside the photos.
‘I love my students so have to do what will make them understand what [I] am teaching.’
The information and computer technology (ICT) teacher has subsequently been contacted by Microsoft after the images were shared thousands of times online. The company has promised to send him new computer equipment and give him access to its ‘professional development resources’.
Akto for the past six years has taught at Betenase M/A Junior High School, about three hours north of the second largest Ghanaian city of Kumasi.
The school does not have any computers even though in recent years 14 and 15-year-olds are expected to write and pass a national exam, with ICT being one of the subjects.
‘This is not my first time [of drawing] it. I have been doing it anytime I am in the classroom,’ Akoto told Quartz Africa.
‘I like posting pictures on Facebook so I just felt like [sharing it]. I didn’t know it would get the attention of people like that,’ he said.
His story was brought to the attention of Microsoft by entrepreneur Rebecca Enonchong who tweeted the company to point that he was teaching the use of their product without having physical access to it.
‘Surely you can get him some proper resources,’ she suggested.
On Tuesday, the software giant acted on her request.
Quartz subsequently pointed out that Akoto’s situation typifies an ‘under-resourced dysfunctional public school system’.
It said that many economically disadvantaged families throughout Africa ‘are forced to choose private schools over free public primary schools’ due to a lack of resources.
In Ghana, there have been calls for more resources to help rural schools like Betenase which ‘struggles with teaching logistics challenges’.