__ Two of the smartest things you can do for your child, and the continent, today!
When our youngest daughter was less than 10 years old, my wife would drive her to school in our neighbourhood. Whilst the child sat in the back seat, my wife would give her the smartphone to hold. Then she would ask her to look for answers to questions, and read them out… The objective was very simple, she wanted her to be extremely familiar with searching for answers on her phone.
Today she owns a smartphone, and I have never seen anyone that digitally “native.” She is also the most “techie” of my children, and the one we call when we need to fix something.
Every child should have access to a mobile smartphone. That’s one of the smartest things you can do for your child, and for our continent. Even if you cannot afford to buy one right away, you should allow your child to have (monitored) access to the phone in your hand right now, for up to 1-2 hours a day.
A “smartphone” is actually a handheld computer. (If you can use WhatsApp or Facebook then you have a smartphone). With wise guidance, this phone of yours can eventually even open up university doors to your child. (Speaking of which, what a great time we had at this week’s town hall at the University of Ghana. Thanks to everyone who took part.)
Now it’s amazing how many people will tell you they don’t have a computer, even though they have a smartphone. In Africa we already have more than 300m smartphones, which means a significant number of adults do have computers already! This number is expected to reach 500m within two years!
This is remarkable because we’re on our way to everyone actually owning a computer within five years.
So: “What is that in your hand?”
Answer: “Smartphone, or shall I say, computer!”
More than that: it is a powerful tool to help advance the education of a child, or empower a teacher!
We can write Apps that deliver educational materials to children and help teachers get answers to questions, and access to materials such as books, etc. (Here in this image is young Ethan, showing his friends “EthanMan,” an educational App that he himself helped to develop. Wow!)
#Smart LionessMoms give their children access to a smartphone! (Of course, this must be supervised and guided. Don’t just set your young child free on the Internet!!)
The second smart thing you can do today, as a responsible parent, is to ensure that your child’s teacher has a smartphone! Even better would be to get that teacher (or teachers) a tablet computer or laptop.
__We have now reached the point where if a teacher has no access to a computer, we’re being criminally negligent towards the future of our children, and with it, our nations!
Now just suppose your national leaders or local government authorities have other priorities than providing computers to teachers (even though I cannot imagine a greater priority than the education of our children). If that is the case, what do you do as a parent?
__Get together with other parents and buy them for each teacher in your school! There’s no time to waste!
Let me close with a simple but touching story: Many years ago a group of village elders from a remote part of my country came to see me in my office in the city. They had with them a teenage boy. The chief of the village spoke for the group.
“When this boy was very young, his parents died, and left him in the care of his grandmother,” the Chief said. “The teachers came and told me that he was unusually clever, but no one could pay his fees. I gathered these men you see here with me, and we agreed to keep him in school.”
Then he handed me a piece of paper, carefully wrapped in a folder. “These are his results,” he said proudly.
Looking at them, I was totally astounded.
“We cannot afford the university fees, and we thought that perhaps you could join us in supporting him.”
This was easily the best example of leadership that I had ever seen. This is the leadership it will take to transform Africa today.
__What is even more remarkable is that, on this platform right now, there are men and women who can take charge and lead just like this village chief did.
“What about very poor children?
This is where all of our philanthropy comes in. EACH one of us must work to empower just one child’s access to a computer. That’s 3.1+m smartphones, tablets and/or laptops, right here on this platform!
# Empower a child today.
# Empower a teacher today.
# Empower a country today.
It’s all in your hands, today!
To be continued. . .
You can download Ethan Yona’s app online on the Google Play Store