Sierra Leone Minister Launches First 'Net Learning Center

Sierra Leone's minister of education, youths and sports, Dr. Minkailu Bah, Friday launched the first Knowledge Aid Sierra Leone (KASL) fixed Internet learning center.

The center, situated in a classroom of the Government Secondary Technical School in Congo Cross, west of Freetown, is comprised of 20 laptop computers with Internet service.

Bah, who is a member of Knowledge Aid Sierra Leone, said such fixed Internet learning center (FILCs) will help train secondary school pupils to use computers efficiently and effectively. He praised KASL for taking the initiative to fill a vacuum and expressed the government's interest in programs of this nature.

"The government of Sierra Leone -- through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports -- has provided funds to promote and sustain their programs and also to expand these programs to other parts of the country," he said.

Bah added that plans are underway to extend the operations of FILCs to the east and central parts of the city, while other parts of the country will be covered next year. In areas where it is not possible to set up a FILC for students, KASL is planning to establish a MILC (mobile Internet learning center).

"ICT is the way forward for education and development. We cannot allow our children to be left behind," Bah said

KASL is a local nongovernment organization founded by Professor Eldred Jones, who realized that the children of Sierra Leone were missing out on IT education because of a lack of access to computers and the Internet. The organization is funded by the U.K. Support Group.

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