Welcome to the Kwame Nkrumah Learning Center
A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first mile.
The KNLC is your one-stop free learning site primarily for Mathematics , Science and Computer Literacy at virtually all levels of the educational ladder; however the site also covers a host of other disciplines at the college or university level as you can see under the following pages, Open Courseware, EdX, Education Portal and Other Learning Sites. The site caters not only for students and teachers at all levels, but also for mature adults who are eager to seek knowledge in these areas either for personal enjoyment or for self improvement.
Why primarily Math , Science and Computer Literacy?
We believe that these core disciplines constitute an important missing link in the African development equation. This is because apart from the fact that math forms the basis of engineering and technology , the study of which is inevitable in modern industrial development, it is also used virtually in all professions.
As Dr Rob points out in the Math Forum,
“ There are uses of mathematics in all the hard sciences , such as biology, chemistry and physics; the soft sciences such as economics, psychology and sociology. …….There are even uses in the arts such as sculpture, drawing and music. In addition anything that uses a computer uses mathematics , and you are probably aware how many things that is". (See http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/
Furthermore, mathematics enables one to acquire the skill of logical thinking, a skill which is essential in all works of life. Again, as a “language”, mathematics is used to analyze and draw conclusions in fields where ordinary language has a very serious handicap. Go to the Math Forum to read a lot of interesting questions and answers on the study and uses of math
That math and science go together in forming the basis of modern economic development cannot be disputed. But even more important than the end result of science for development is the scientific method which, we believe, must be taught in all African schools as a basic course. The brilliant scientist and ardent popularizer of science, Carl Sagan, once wrote,
“If we teach only the findings and product of science- no matter how useful and inspiring they may be- without communicating its critical method, how can the average person possibly distinguish science from pseudo science?”(Carl Sagan: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark pg 21.Ballantine Books, NY).
Other aspects of science, such as the History of Science, are also useful for understanding how the world works. The knowledge of the history of science enables us to appreciate the limitations of science, both as a discipline and a tool for development. To quote Carl Sagan again,
“Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge. It’s just the best we have. In this respect, as in many others, it is like democracy. Science by itself cannot advocate the courses of human action, but it can certainly illuminate the possible consequences of alternative courses of action” (ibid pg 27 )
Why “ Kwame Nkrumah “ Learning Center ?
We decided to name this website, which directs its intended audience to free educational sites to promote their education especially in science and math, after Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the flag bearer of African freedom and unity and the first president of Ghana for two major reasons:
Firstly, he was an untiring advocate of education for freedom and development and he amply demonstrated this in Ghana. I daresay that, but for him, a whole generation, or, perhaps, several generations of educated Ghanaians would not have had any education at all. He instituted free and compulsory primary education, introduced mass education and undertook massive educational reforms never before seen in Ghana. Sadly his free and compulsory educational program as well as mass education were made to lapse by successive governments in Ghana, most of whose members benefitted themselves from these reforms. Today about 30% of Ghanaian children of primary- school-going age remain virtually invisible. How very sad!
Secondly, he showed a keen awareness of the need for math and science in national development and demonstrated this by establishing the University of Cape Coast, which was originally conceived as a University for Science Education, upgrading the College of Technology in Kumasi to the status of a university and building the atomic reactor at Kwabenya for scientific research. He further negotiated 3000 scholarships for Ghanaian students to study various science courses in the former USSR and Eastern Europe. Again, as Addae-Mensah, Professor of Chemistry and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, points out " Nkrumah conceived the idea of establishing a Science Park, similar to what obtains in Raleigh NC and Silicon Valley in the US, and in Warwick and Birmingham in England. He actually acquired land for the project at Baatsonaa. He also started a construction of National Science Museum to stimulate scientific curiosity in our young children and also preserve any national artifacts with scientific and technological import."('Applying Science, Technology and Innovation in Ghana's social and economic development: The way forward" A paper delivered at the 50th Anniversary of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science, Nov 2009).
Sadly these projects were abandoned after his overthrow and never resurrected by any government in Ghana since, despite repeated calls by men and women of wise counsel.
THIS SITE IS DEDICATED TO HIS BLESSED MEMORY.
Today his daughter, the Rt. Hon. Samia Nkrumah, MP for Jomoro constituency in the Western Region, has assumed her father's mantle, and, in a characteristic Nkrumah-style, promoting education-for-development once again in Ghana. WE SALUTE HER
CONCLUSION: In conclusion we wish to emphasize that in this website, we are acting just like curators in a museum, pointing out and directing people to the free and useful works of others. We take this opportunity to express our deepest thanks and appreciation to all the free websites we have used at the KNLC.
A New Look for KNLC
On the 1st anniversary of KNLC, it has been given a new look and, in response to feedback received from visitors to the site, we have made a few changes. Specifically, we have:
1. Featured some black scientists and mathematicians, in order not only to draw attention to their contributions and provide inspiration to aspiring African science and math enthusiasts, but also to highlight the difficult circumstances under which some of them had to operate in view of the institutional racism and discrimination that they had to endure in their student and professional lives. You can read about some of these scientists and mathematicians featured on the site here and also here and you can also click on their pictures to read about them.
2. Introduced three new academic pages, EdX and Education Portal, both of which feature university-level courses, and CK-12, which covers math and science at the k-12 level. EdX is perhaps the best and greatest thing that ever happened to world education, thanks to MIT and Harvard, both of which were jointly responsible for its establishment. We have also upgraded the site by removing links to websites which no longer exist and modifying the write-up on existing ones to reflect changes that have taken place during the past year.
3. The third innovation is to introduce a Site Map featuring all the links in the various pages, thus making it easy for visitors to access links on the website.
4. Lastly we have introduced a page to solicit donations to promote the study of math and science in African schools, starting with elementary and secondary or high schools in Ghana. In a series of lectures we gave in Ghana in May-June 2012, we realized that the most serious setback for schools, especially those located in rural areas, to benefit from KNLC is the inability to access the internet. To arrest this problem we decided to experiment with a solution provided by World Possible in which a RACHEL( Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) server is used. See http://www.worldpossible.org. But this requires a lot of resources and we appeal to all those who believe in education, especially science and math education, as a basis for development to make a contribution, however modest, to the fund for promoting it in Africa. You can read about these lectures here. We also want to draw attention to the fact that WorldPossible has graciously made it possible to download the RACHEL server on a 28GB flash drive for use offline. The content includes,among others, the Khan Academy and CK-12, two of the best free websites for learning math and science. Schools which have computer labs are encouraged to take full advantage of this and make it accessible to their students. Individual students and teachers who can afford should also not miss this opportunity. With the prices of storage devices on the downward trend, a 28 GB flash drive should not be too expensive. The real return on investment in one is virtually limitless.