Friday, 28 June 2013

STAR-Ghana Grant Partners Discuss Strategies to Sustain National Development

Civil society encompasses voluntary organisations and NGOs whose programmes are aimed at preserving citizens' interests, as governments and businesses do not always address the aspirations of the people. In Ghana, STAR has been at the forefront of oiling the advocacy machine, and their efforts have resulted in significant strides. Their Grant Partners (GPs) recently convened at the plush Alisa Hotel, Accra, from 26th June to 28th June, under the theme "The Role of Civil Society in Sustaining National Development."

The conversations held were notably focused on the sustainability of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), post-2014, as the STAR-Ghana initiative reaches its five year mandate. Programme Manager Mr Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu spells out the focus of the convention:

On Day 1, discussions were centred on policy initiatives in the educational, health, energy and governance sectors. One thing that surprised me was the lack of emphasis on building local research capacity, particularly with regards to helping Ghana overcome her energy woes. Day 2 delved more into CSO sustainability and strategies that organisations can employ to remain effective and financially buoyant in the face of dwindling donor funding.

STAR-Ghana and Ghana Decides provided updates on Twitter under #STARGPC13 throughout the two-day conference. Pictures were also uploaded to STAR-Ghana's Facebook page. Find more tweets collected via Storify below. Enjoy and share your thoughts on what you think is the best approach to sustaining the gains made in social advocacy in Ghana.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Integration of ICT into Teaching of Mathematics, English and Integrated Science (MEIS) Workshop

I was part of the two-man team from Keta Senior High Technical School that participated in the fifth batch of the "Integration of ICT into Teaching of Mathematics, English and Integrated Science" (MEIS) workshop. The training was held at the Ghana Education Staff Development Institute (GESDI), Saltpond, Central Region from 6th to 10th May 2013. This workshop comes after the digital media training for teachers we hosted in Keta last year.

Concept maps are simple, yet powerful, tools


The “Integration of ICT into the Teaching of Mathematics, English and Integrated Science” workshop, part of the Ghana SHS Connectivity project, is aimed at training 800 teachers (from 400 schools) to lead the integration of ICT into teaching and learning in their schools and beyond. Through funding from USAID, the Ghana SHS Connectivity project is employing a phased approach to ICT Integration in teacher development. The main activities include: Installation of Internet services in 400 Senior High Schools, development of ICT curriculum and framework for integration, identification of ICT competency framework, development of digital content evaluation framework and identification of digital resources. The overall objective is to improve the quality of teaching and learning in Ghanaian schools, triggering improved student performance in the specified subjects. Partners for the project include the Ministry of Education (MoE), Ghana Education Service (GES), Global E-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Vodafone.

Course Structure

The course facilitators employed discussions and group activities to engage participants, amplying demonstrating what teachers are expected to do after the training. The main topics covered were:
  • Day 1: Introduction, Review of Computer Networks and Techniques of Presentations 
  • Day 2: Concept Mapping, ICT Policy and TPACK 
  • Day 3: Didactic Lesson Plans and Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) 
  • Day 4: Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and Learning Objects 
  • Day 5: Micro Teaching and Closing Ceremony

Impressions and Recommendations 

  • The workshop is a step in the right direction as it equips teachers with the right skills, techniques and attitudes in the information age to nurture 21st century scholars 
  • The facilitators did an excellent job. It was important and admirable to have fellow teachers coordinate such an important activity as they are better suited to relate to Ghanaian education contexts
  • It would have been very helpful if stress was placed more on digital content creation (by teachers to meet peculiar needs of Ghanaian curriculum) rather than just content consumption. 
  • More focus should be placed on mobile learning as current trends show that it is the future 
  • It was commendable that a discussion-focused model was used throughout the workshop, but it would have been more worthwhile if more time was created to enable teachers share their experiences and ideas with regards to the use of tech in education 
  • Reliable access to Internet must be ensured for future workshops of this nature
  • Schools must endeavour to send representatives who already have some basic knowledge of ICT since the workshop is focused on integrating ICT into education and not teaching ICT skills from the scratch. 
  • Teachers trained should transfer knowledge and skills back to their schools and communities. 
  • Future workshops be held to address pertinent topics not covered in the first iteration

It was refreshing to find more Ghanaian teachers who are actively using ICTs to make learning more effective and fun for students, like members of the Ghana Educators Network!