Improving Girls Education Through Technology, Labs For F-SHAM
Published: 16 July 2014
Monrovia - Vice President Joseph Boakai has announced collaboration between F-SHAM of Faith School for Girls, The Foundation for Women and EDIFY, an educational partner in Liberia that has resulted a transformed F-SHAM into a Technology school for girls in Liberia.
The technology school is the first of its kind with low-fee independent school for girls in Liberia. A statement from the Office of the Vice President quotes the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Foundation for Women Madam Deborah Lindholm as saying that the transformation of F-SHAM includes the refurbishment of the physical structure and interior courtyard with additions that includes two state of the art computer labs.
She also disclosed that a solar system to provide power for these labs and other needs for the school that will eliminate the expensive regular use of a generator would shortly be provided. Lindholm said: “Accordingly, the high technology upgrade includes the latest technology computers with high speed internet, video connection possibilities worldwide, access to global software and teaching support, and the transformation of the school’s accounting system and practices. “Moreover, according to Madam Lindholm, the Lab will benefit students of F-SHAM, the teaching and administrative staff and the community, as the computer labs will be accessible outside of school hours to the surrounding community.”
She said, F-SHAM was chosen for this special project due to their history of academic excellence of their committed founders and staff, and their willingness to grow beyond the present reality of education in Liberia, particularly for girls. The FFW is a registered NGO operating in Liberia since 2007 providing microfinance support to more than 10,000 women in more than 250 communities in 14 counties and has also provided microfinance support to 15 low –fee independent school operators to enhance education in Liberia, a VPO release concluded.
According to Madam Lindholm the two labs are unique in a way that EDIFY the group funding the project through FFW purchased a special kind of software (Smile) that makes teaching and learning easy for students and teachers at all levels. SMILE technology, according to her was purchased from the Stanford University in the United States, which gives students access to all the educational materials without Internet access. Also speaking at the program US ambassador to Liberia Deborah Malac commended FFW for the support to the country’s education sector with specific reference to girls’ education, which according to her is cardinal to the growth and development of Liberia.
The Liberia education Master plan in 1999 reported that Africa has about 57.65% male and 42.38% female students. From this data, Liberia could not boast of a ratio of 5 to 3 School — going girls to that of boys. The dropout rate for girls is very high. Most girls end up in the streets of Liberia with nothing to do and thereby forced into early marriage. It is against this background that the need for the establishment of an institution like F-SHAM OF FAITH GIRLS ACADEMY became necessary.
F-SHAM offers a basic educational program for Girls, which provides the foundation for continuous and lifelong learning for sustenance. The institution is the first of its kind in the country, it was established in 2000 on April 19, by five prominent Liberian Women who saw the need for such venture during the post war period of national reconstruction. The idea of establishing F-SHAM according to the Principal started, when Sarah Kokulo Taylor (Mrs.) (the proprietress and a founding member) was in the service of her church school, St. Peters Lutheran High School.
As a Principal, Sarah had some administrative problems with the Parish Council for refusing to provide the needs of the students. This frustration led her to one of the Board members, Mrs. Mildred P. George to tell her of her intention to resign as a principal of St. Peters Lutheran high school.