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Empowering a new generation of innovators in Ghana

reposted from https://iohk.io/en/blog/posts/2021/11/05/empowering-a-new-generation-of-innovators-in-ghana/

As part of our commitment to global outreach, and to foster the adoption of blockchain technology worldwide, we are announcing the launch of a Haskell programming course in Ghana.

Eighty students will benefit from this educational program, which will teach them the necessary skills to create projects and build applications to transform local industries using blockchain.

Blockchain as a driving force for technological advancement

Haskell, named after American mathematician Haskell Curry, is a functional programming language that emphasizes the use of “pure” functions where possible. That is, functions that always give the same result for the same input. This is particularly relevant for systems that require high-assurance code (such as blockchain) and programs that require a high degree of formal verification. This is specifically why Cardano was built with Haskell.

The upcoming course will offer students the opportunity to learn functional programming techniques, and how to build smart contract applications. This course aims to support the development of a new generation of Ghanaian innovators, empowered to create blockchain solutions to address some of the challenges faced by their country. This cohort of blockchain-skilled individuals will have the necessary technical knowledge to create applications for industries as diverse as finance, the arts, and the music world.

This course couldn't come at a more timely moment for the country. Ghana is currently driving the digitization of some of its key economic areas. Bank of Ghana, for example, is working towards the development of a blockchain-based digital currency. The skills taught in this course will become a key asset for the next generation of technological leaders, who will be able to make a significant contribution to Ghana's digital innovation.

Lars Brünjes, IOG's Director of Education, will teach the course, as he did before in other locations. “The previous Haskell courses in Athens, Barbados, Ethiopia, and (virtually) in Mongolia have all been very successful and great experiences for me,” said Lars. “Teaching is never a one-way street: While sharing my knowledge with the students, I enjoy listening to their stories and discovering their own, unique perspectives.”

Where is this course imparted?

The course will be held in Accra, Ghana's capital city and economic and administrative hub, and delivered in collaboration with the Pan-African Tech Foundation (PATF), a non-profit foundation that promotes technological development in Africa. The PATF and IOG will liaise with technology-focused universities and hubs to select the best candidates. As before, students who excel at the course will also have employment opportunities at IOG.

Lars added “I love the concept of these courses: The students are passionate about solving the unique problems of their countries, and we give them the necessary tools to achieve this. We gain bright young people with invaluable local knowledge, and they get the opportunity to work at the forefront of technology while never having to leave their own countries.”

“Many of my students from previous courses have told me how it was the toughest course they ever did, “ he added. “But also how it changed their lives and gave them all they needed to hit the ground running.”

The bottom line

Charles Hoskinson said: “At IO we are committed to empowering citizens to autonomously develop solutions to day-to-day challenges in their own nations, which is why the Haskell training courses are such a fundamental part of our work. “

“We have always taken an academic, research-first approach to blockchain development, so Haskell was our choice of programming language for our industry-leading green blockchain platform, Cardano. With a generation of innovative tech leaders in Ghana capable of using such a secure and robust programming language, we could see transformative applications built which shape the tech landscape in Ghana for decades to come.

This course perfectly aligns with that vision, with IOG’s endeavor to make education more accessible, affordable, and equitable across Africa, and with Cardano's overall mission to become the world's financial system. Cardano is about promoting inclusion and fairness through sustainable technological advancement.

Lars perfectly illustrates this concept, and shows how these courses align with Cardano's vision:

“We all want to make the world a better place, and these courses allow me to do this in my own little way. Education and knowledge open so many doors, and I feel grateful and blessed for the opportunity to make a difference by sharing my knowledge.”

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