APS News

APS Helps Organize Networking Workshop in Ghana

Along with several other international societies and organizations, the APS contributed to the organization of a three-week advanced networking workshop at the University of Accra, Legon, Ghana, beginning January 31. The course began with a UNIX workshop and was followed by two weeks of intensive training to orient node managers and programming staff with respect to server set-up, router programming, note management and network maintenance. Other students received user training and orientation on the Internet and World Wide Web. Approximately 40 students are being trained in this first course. The Ghanaian National Committee (GNC) will organize additional courses at the conclusion of the current program. The bulk of the students are recruited from the three main universities in Ghana: the University of Accra at Legon, the University of Cape Coast and the Technical University in Kumasi. Not quite two years ago, the UNESCO Informatics Program proposed a telecommunications initiative in Ghana and asked the Ghanaian government to organize a GNC to plan a development program and to prepare proposals for funding. On May 28- 29, 1996, a planning workshop was held in Paris to develop an advanced networking workshop similar to ones held in Kiev in September 1995 and St. Petersburg in October 1996.

Attending the workshop in Paris were representatives of UNESCO; the International Telecommunications Union (ITU); the President of the Society of African Physicists and Mathematicians (SAPAM), Francis Allotey; the Chair of the GNC, Christine Kisiedu and Irving Lerch for the American Physical Society; and by phone, representatives of the United Nations Development Program's Sustainable Development Networking Program (UNDP's SDNP). The participants agreed to collaborate on an advanced networking workshop for Ghana to take place in either late 1996 or early 1997.

According to Irving Lerch, APS director of international scientific affairs, the APS and SAPAM agreed to collaborate on the effort and SAPAM subsequently signed a reciprocal society membership agreement with APS. UNDP's SDNP agreed to provide $50,000 for equipment and international instructor support for the training course. UNESCO provided the GNC with support for planning and development and ITU provided support for literature and student subsistence.

Lerch recruited the chief instructor for the program, Brian Candler (UK) who had served as chief instructor in St. Petersburg and had been a senior instructor for the Internet Society's annual developing country training program. Other instructors came from the university and private sector in Ghana and other parts of Africa. Considerable technical support is being provided by the Ghanaian Internet Service Provider, Network Computer Systems, run by Nii Quaynor who developed Ghana's point-of-presence on the Internet.


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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin