120 young people competed on Saturday in the i2CAP –‘I Too Can Program’ computer programming competition, the

first-ever computer programming competition in the Ashanti region.The competitors are selected from thirty (30) Senior Secondary Schools in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo region.
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The competition is both incredibly challenging and fun; it is interesting to note that students who participated in the past competition have started developing software applications.

You can see pictures here, courtesy of Ghanageek. It is wonderful to see the fierce intelligence and concentration of the young people reflected in these pictures. And it is wonderful to see female competitors as well as male.

Ghanageek adds some particularly important points:

  • This should not be a project that is dependent on only one private donor for the majority of its financial needs. There really should be more official and private weight behind this.
  • The computers the kids used. Again I got to see a lab full of old machines dumped on people in need who can’t complain and which we will have issues dealing with when they finally break. Africa is becoming way too much of a dumping ground for crappy old hardware and too many times its under the guise of altruism.

As a general observation too, these school labs might be a great place to introduce linux to kids. The schools are already broke with old hardware and yet trying to run Windows XP. it would be nice to be able to teach the people running those labs basic Linux admin and networking skills and use them to run their labs.

I thoroughly agree about the problem with “altruists” dumping crappy hardware on Ghana and other poor countries. And there should be a lot more government and private money invested here. Despite problems such as bandwidth, hardware, and collecting the necessary training expertise, I think linux is the way to go for any country who does not want to be the captive of a particular company, particularly one located in another country, and for any country that does not want to be locked into paying extortionately prohibitive licensing fees. Brazil and other countries in Latin America have been catching on to this.