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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Covid-19: The silver lining for Ghana’s pre-tertiary education sub-sector

Ghana’s pre-tertiary instructional space has been undergoing some degree of transformation albeit at a gradual pace.

The sector now appeals to vivid and experienced young graduates from our tertiary establishments who purposely request to develop a profession in instructing and administration. The pre-tertiary educational institutions now boast of skillfully competent instructors and administrators equivalent to lots of international locations in the world. 

Thanks to the commitment of and the investment produced in the sector by successive governments specially in the 4th Republic, our schools now have far better college infrastructure whilst enrolment levels are encouraging. What gladdens the heart extra is the actuality that in many of our faculties, the woman to male ratio is higher in favour of our girls. This signifies that much more than ever, additional of our women are defying the odds and are remaining longer in university. This has reduced the higher attrition rate that utilised to characterize our pre-tertiary training.

So, irrespective of the standards a person takes advantage of in rating our pre-tertiary instructional area, one particular simply cannot ignore these successes even though concerns continue to be in the areas of mastering outcomes, trainer accountability and rural-urban differentials in education and learning.

Despite our successes in the affore-shown parts, we have not chalked so a great deal of achievement in the area of ICT integration into our pre-tertiary training supply in the nation notwithstanding our preceding tries at equipping lecturers and the educational facilities with laptops and computer systems. ICT integration into our educating and understanding responsibilities stays reduced paced. We even now take into account ICTs as instruments of understanding in its place of looking at them as instruments for understanding. As a result, innovation continues to be a single of the important hurdles our instructional process must cross likely ahead.

I have to disclose that Covid-19 ante couple people today like the celebrated educationist, innovator and convention speaker, Annis Haffer experienced produced phone calls for the integration of ICTs into educating and studying in Ghana. Phone calls were being produced for learners to be permitted to use hand-held gadgets as equipment for mastering in universities, but these types of phone calls ended up ridiculed by some section of our modern society. As usual, the ethical argument often held sway each time the simply call was built.

All of a of unexpected, there came the dark cloud of Covid-19 with its destructive disruption of almost all sides of existence which include training and the once untouchable religion, major to the shutdown of this sort of establishments by the President of the Republic. So as requirement is the mom of creation, our universities and the spiritual centres now lean on the equipment of new media and apps to access their consumers/ members, and out of the blue, the moral argument appears dowsed.

Hence, Covid-19 may perhaps seem disruptive as it has prompted massive blows to our economic climate and work, but in its darkish clouds is a silver lining. That silver lining is the recognition that our instruction delivery have to not be identical and conventional put up-Covid-19. There is that popular recognition that the administration of our universities will have to witness drastic adjustments as a legacy of the dreaded Covid-19. In Ghana as may possibly be the scenario in most international locations, the adjust ought to start off with the integration of ICTs into our curriculum and see all lecturers making use of these applications and resources or apps for training and learning, moreover the common methods.

For starters, the Ghana Schooling Service may possibly have to rethink its ban on the use of hand held products by learners for the duration of faculty periods. Alternatively, the Company/ Ministry may perhaps have to take into consideration partnering moms and dads/ guardians to take into account procuring these products for all learners/pupils and ask for of lecturers to really encourage the use of these gadgets in our schools. Secondly, the Ministry will have to keep on its coverage of equipping the schools and instructors with laptops and computer systems and extras as a way of transforming the shipping and delivery of instruction in the region. Much more importantly, the software of these new and extra sources have to be at the coronary heart of the curricula of pre-tertiary trainer education and learning and education, so that new academics will recognize the great importance of blending these means with the conventional teaching and mastering routine following education. 

There is no denying the simple fact that the accomplishment of this enterprise is hinged on stable internet connectivity. In this regard, the government through the Ministry of Communication will require to keep on its plan of furnishing internet expert services all across the region even though the Ministry of Education also quickly keep track of its programme of offering Wi-Fi companies in all our senior higher universities. There is now the recognition that we have to consider extending such companies to our primary educational institutions and preschools as very well.

As a coverage, the Ghana Training Company will have to contemplate organizing exclusive function workshops for all academics – community and non-public – on the use and integration of educating and studying applications such as Zoom and Moodle in lessons and assessments.  Academics should really be made to value the great importance of these tools and apps in their instructing jobs. Attempts ought to be built to demystify the use of these resources and apps, allay the fears of the lecturers toward these applications/ applications staying also intricate to manipulate, or their being as well outdated to start off making use of these resources.

Stakeholders in schooling – academics, mother and father, GES/MOE, Teacher Unions, pupils and the community – will require to initiate conversations on how to regulate the use of these products and applications among the our learners in get not to engender our ethical values. In the direction of this intention, the Ministry can consider engaging the Telcos and software engineers whose abilities may well appear useful.

So what does our academic system stand to benefit from the integration of these applications/ apps with the common program (Blended finding out)?

For pupils, blended finding out will assistance them to know and leverage their finding out method. More than the years, we appeared to have dealt with all learners as equal. We neglected their exceptional traits, skills and differences by deploying equivalent modes of training and understanding, and then tended to condemn those people who could not cope with these kinds of modes as unintelligent or unfit for academic do the job. There ended up very minor efforts produced to learn the numerous intelligences of our learners. All learners are not the exact same. They do have special differences some of which the blend of typical methods with these Apps/ sources can assist teachers to find out. Our learners may possibly be visual learners, auditory learners, or kinaesthetic learners. 

Hence, Applications this sort of as Zoom, Google Classroom, Bluegeans, Cisco WebEx and Google Satisfy will permit academics to combine films, audios, audio-visuals, texts, charts, illustrations in their educating and mastering tasks to be able to seize the creativeness of the learners and get them to explore on their own. This will make teaching and learning pleasant to these learners as they will sense cozy in their ease and comfort zone of mastering rather of the traditional reserve and chalk program which they look to be losing fascination in due to the fact of their period.

For teachers, Blended learning will help them to far better organize their lessons by leveraging on supplemental means these kinds of as videos, slides, illustrations, audios and audio visuals of relevance to their lesson delivery. It will also assist them to retain keep track of of their classes. The college students will have the added benefit of observing or listening to former lessons for functions of revision or remediation, which the regular technique lacks. Also, the program will build further impetus to evaluation of learners.  In addition to the typical method, lecturers will superior manage assessments, generate issue financial institutions and keep track of the functionality of the learners. It will convey a bit of pleasurable, humour and concentrate to the classroom. With better supervision, the program will really encourage teacher accountability and boost learning results.

In the circumstance of the condition, the deployment of these Applications and gadgets in our colleges will help attain the twin plans of accessibility and top quality in education and learning. The introduction of these resources will make it a large amount simpler for schools to get to out to their pupils who are in the track process or through university holidays. So as an alternative of the recent program where by lecturers who educate in the track program say the Gold Keep track of will have to hold out till their college students report to university just before they can teach them, the adoption of these sources will make it achievable for these pupils to be taught remotely.  This will make it rather feasible for the government to deliver on its Free of charge SHS/ Double Monitor Mandate. The blended approach to teaching and discovering will also support learners to be a bit more modern and inventive thereby translating into excellent schooling (albeit incremental) which our country aspires for.

For the West African Examinations Council [WAEC], the lesson of COVID-19 will have to be a rethink of the way it conducts its exams. Likely ahead, the Council could have to invest seriously into Information Communication Technological innovation. The Council may want to consider its arms on new evaluation tools as Moodle especially at a time it is confronted with the annual ritual of leakage foreknowledge of examination questions. 

There, on the other hand, continue to be challenges in the implementation of these solutions. First, world-wide-web connectivity stays a privilege, and only a handful of the Ghanaian community has obtain to it. This is why government’s plan of connecting all SHSs to the world wide web is commendable. Covid-19 has taught us to fast keep track of the implementation of this undertaking. In the direction of equipping lecturers with these assets, teacher Unions (GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT), business, Telcos, PTAs, NGOs and CSOs will require to support our lecturers with laptops, web obtain, applications, capacity making and education.

Covid-19 ought to help us make upon the gains we have designed in schooling in Ghana. It must instigate some optimistic disruptions in the way education and learning is sent in Ghana. It need to be a shot in the arm for preceding endeavours aimed at transforming the sector.


The author, Gborse Nicholas Mawunyah, is a writer and conference speaker on topical problems in training, political-record, university management and innovations. Make contact with him by means of gborsenicholasm@gmail.com

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