Student creates app to save Free SHS millions yearly Featured

By Kwasi Frimpong January 28, 2020 4982 978 comments

A 14-year-old student of Ghana Senior High School (GHANASS) in Koforidua has developed a mobile application that could save the government’s Free SHS policy million of cedis yearly.

Kelvin Amaniampong, a native of Akyem Manso in the Asene-Manso-Akroso District of the Eastern Region, says he came up with the innovation because he believes the money spent on sourcing textbooks and past questions and distributing these to students can be retained and used for other pressing purposes, such as alleviating the school infrastructure challenges exposed by the policy.

The app, which he has named Scrolbooks, is an e-learning platform that seeks to be the nation’s biggest free digital library. Kelvin developed it with the help of his uncle, a computer programmer. It makes Ghana Education Service-approved textbooks and past questions available to users, free of charge.

Aide to revision

The GES procured 400,000 sets of questions and answer booklets from the West African Examination Council (WAEC) last year for distribution to the first batch of beneficiaries of the Free SHS programme.

According to the head of public affairs at the Ministry of Education, Vincent Ekow Assafuah, the procurement of past questions was important because these will guide students as they revise, and help them excel in their exams in April 2020.

Speaking to the Daily Statesman, Kelvin, who is a Form One science student, said that if the government invests in the app, it will save Ghana at least a large chunk of the money it spends on purchasing past questions for students every year.

He added that it will also save parents large lump sums because they will no longer have to spend so much on course materials for their wards.

Poor background

Kelvin also says he developed the app because he felt it would help students from poor backgrounds who cannot afford to attend vacation classes to catch up with colleagues.

Kelvin Amaniampong (foreground) loves cracking science problems

Coming from a poor background himself, he told the Daily Statesman, he felt he was wasting his time whenever he was on holiday, because his parents do not have the money to enrol him in any of the “double-track” vacation classes.

He says the app will now make him busy and help him catch up with colleagues.

Richmond Ayisi, the computer programmer uncle of Kelvin who helped him to develop the app, told the Daily Statesman that on hearing about the idea he felt it was great, hence his decision to invest time in it.

He always felt sad when Kelvin came home on holiday, Mr Ayisi said, because the family does not have the means to enrol him in any vacation classes, nor even buy textbooks for the boy to learn on his own.

Should Ghana be interested in helping to promote Kelvin’s idea, he said, it will serve as a fine complement to the Free SHS policy.

Call for support

Eric Amaniampong, Kelvin’s father, could not hide his joy and pride in his son’s initiative. He described Kelvin as a skilful young man who always seeks opportunities to exhibit his knowledge in information and communications technology (ICT).

He appealed to the government and other interested bodies to support his son to bring out more innovations of this kind.

The chief of Akyem Mano and Benkumhene of the Akyem Kotoku Traditional Area, Obrempong Sintim Poku II, applauded Kelvin for using his initiative to create the app. He also echoed Kelvin’s father’s appeal for interested organisations to invest in the boy’s talent and skills.

Schoolmates’ delight

Staff and students of GHANASS have also expressed their delight about Kelvin’s initiative.

The school’s assistant headmaster in charge of academic affairs, Fredrick Owusu, said the app will help both junior and senior high school students to access, 100 per cent free of charge, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), West African Senior Schools Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and November/December past questions and answers, and potentially all textbooks required by students at all levels of education in Ghana.

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Last modified on Thursday, 30 January 2020 04:52


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