Dr. Nii Darku Quaynor, FGA on Thursday 06 of October 2022 has said Ghana has enormous traditional technologies and tools, which when developed into modern educational and computational tools will be critical for national development. He said whiles delivering his annual lecture on the theme “The Science of Oware Board” at the Academy’s auditorium.
Prof Quaynor noted that Ghana, just like many African countries, had enormous “heritage scientific tools,” noting that: “Unfortunately, Africa seems to be users and not providers of technology.” He made a case for Oware board as a useful tool in mathematics and computer programming and engineering, urged the Government to resource schools to explore the potential of the traditional game in educational development. Oware is a board game (played with pebbles on a carved wood with holes) said to have been developed originally as an accounting system that helps in the development of numeric skills.
He added that “We’re lagging because we’re not confident and everything seems to be imported. We must know our root and have confidence in ourselves and what we have. If we’re able to go and get abacus from far away, we can develop ours”.
Prof Quaynor explained that the traditional tools and technologies, when taught in schools and developed, would engender people’s ability to build modern technologies to spur development in various fields of the economy.
“Abandoning our scientific cultural heritage weakens our ability to domesticate modern computational sciences, and without the confidence from legacy, we’ll naturally turn to wait for global consensus to act and that will keep us in the digital divide forever,” Prof Quaynor said.
The computer science professor bemoaned the lack of support for persons and various Science Departments across the country and urged the Government to make conscious efforts to partner with institutions and people for scientific innovations. He cautioned that if we don’t invest urgently in Science Departments at the Universities, we could soon outsource all technical operations in Ghana’s industry overseas.
“We’re not teaching the pupils at the primary school these helpful methods at the primary schools, yet we want to teach them coding, which is a difficult thing to do. This is fundamental,” he said.
On the discovery of the oware board as a mathematical tool, the professor explained that through research, it was discovered that the mechanical manipulation of the game had seen its usefulness in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
He also said its primitives allowed a convention for cascading functions to create a sequence of operations in computer programming, including pascal, and C programs (general-purpose computer programming language).
“I hope that knowing we have the forgotten computational heritage will motivate us to take real ownership. Please teach oware calculus to somebody else,” he encouraged.
In Ghana, the oware calculus is taught at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) with five Latin American Universities also teaching the traditional technology.
Present at the lectures were fellows of the Academy, lecturers from Faculties, Nii Nortey Owuo IV, the Osu Mantse, and students from some selected schools.
Source – GNA