Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum

Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum has urged headteachers to take advantage of technology to strengthen student learning practices and their cognitive skills.

According to him, this will help create a generation of critical thinkers who are able to do more than recall information.

He made these comments during the launch of the Upskill@Instill pilot study in collaboration with the National Teaching Council (NTC), Instill Education, a Pan-African higher education institution.

The motive of the pilot program was to see how the Upskill module could be applied in a Ghanaian context, and to comprehend the challenges of access, quality, and adoption of online programs.

It is also geared towards monitoring and evaluating whether teachers are applying the learned skills and techniques in their classrooms.

Based on the feedback gathered it appears this pilot program was a resounding success.

The Minister on Wednesday, July 13, was represented by his Deputy Minister, Gifty Twum Ampofo, who spoke of the importance of head teachers engaging their teachers in online training programs to ameliorate the results of their students.

The Chairman of the event, Prof Jophus Anamuah Mensah spoke about the fact that in order for Ghana’s education sector to progress, we need to develop teaching and leadership strategies to prepare students and teachers for the future in his opening remarks.

He mentioned the fact that since independence Ghana’s teaching practices have remained virtually the same. Students are taught to memorize and recall (‘chew and pour’) learning instead of applying skills learned in their work.

He stressed the importance of superior training for teachers in order for students to achieve quality education.

To end his remarks he said, “The destiny of nations relies on what teachers teach in the classroom.”

In his welcome address, Dr Christian Addai-Poku, Registrar of the National

Teaching Council (NTC), laid great emphasis on the need to bridge the challenges in education through technology and to create hybrid learning systems to overcome obstacles (adverse climatic conditions, politics, public health etc).

He made it known that the Council’s professional program had trained over 80,000 teachers through online platforms.

He praised the Council for setting a continental example of what teacher professionalism in the last three years. This statement was made with regard to the fact that they were able to take advantage of digital solutions to provide a variety of teaching services.

Data collected by the study revealed that 97% of participants considered the modules to be feasible and realistic. 93% of participants believed that the outcomes of the tools and techniques were quite encouraging.

In addition, 95% of participants found the modules to increase productivity and 87% believed the modules could be applied in the context of the Ghanaian education system.

As much as the pilot study was a great success there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One of these challenges is the integration of women into these programs.

Out of the 5,000+ participants, only 30% of them were females.

This statistic reflected the seeming gender disparity in technology access in the country and its snowballing effect on education.

Another challenge many participants faced was access to the internet. The majority of participants were only able to access the online modules between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am due to cheaper prices of data during these hours.

The launch of this pilot program is a step in the right direction to creating a generation of critical and forward thinkers who are able to use the skills they are taught in their day-to-day lives.