GALOP intervention has improved learning outcomes- Deputy Minister

Reverend John Ntim Fordjour, Deputy Minister of Education, has expressed satisfaction about the steady improvements of the Ghana Accountability and Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP) in basic schools. The Deputy Minister said since the introduction of the project in 2020, there has been improvement in outcomes with the excellent skills exhibited by the teachers to keep the pupils motivated in learning. Rev Fordjour said this when he led a delegation from the Ministry of Education to monitor the implementation of the GALOP in the Greater Accra region and Eastern Region. The team visited Ahwerase Presby Primary and Kindergarten School and Konkonuru Basic School in Aburi in the Eastern Region. In the Greater Accra Region, the team visited ICODEHS Islamic Basic School and St Francis of Assisi Basic School in Adenta. Under the GALOP initiative, teachers were trained in differentiated learning and targeted instruction, which included teaching children reading and numeracy skills and the preparation of teacher-l earning materials. In 2021, the government introduced a national test to generate data on the performance of pupils in English Language and Mathematics, of which Ahafo Region emerged first. Rev Fordjour said the government was implementing the project to ensure that over 10,000 basic schools with the lowest performance in the country were transformed. 'We are excited about what we have seen so far. Teachers are very confident, they are highly motivated, you go to the classrooms, even the setup has been changed. 'They have identified their learners based on their learning capabilities and addressed them accordingly,' he said. He stressed, 'This is the kind of effective teaching that is taking place. It shows that 21st-century learning is taking place where core competencies of critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving are being imbibed in our learners.' Ms Anna Bjerde, Managing Director, in Charge of World Bank Operations, visited Ghana in July 2023 to monitor the implementation of GALOP in sele cted schools. She was impressed with the strong engagement between the teachers and the learners, which culminated in good reading and comprehension among the pupils. She said, 'Through the GALOP initiative, Ghana is empowering teachers with a structured programme, providing them with lesson plans, learning materials, and ongoing skills-based coaching.' 'GALOP has a strong focus on learning outcomes, complementing efforts to improve access, equity, and governance in the education sector,' she said. Madam Elizabeth Afriyie, Municipal Director of Education, Akuapem South in Aburi, said the project had led to improvements in pupils' performance in reading and literacy. Madam Gifty Mussey, Municipal Director of Education in Adenta, said the project had built the confidence of the learners to actively participate in the teaching and learning processes. Present at the monitoring are Madam Angela Affran, Acting Coordinator, GALOP, Nana Yamoah Hagan, Deputy Director, in Charge of Performance, GALOP, and Mr Seto r Agubretu, Technical Assistant, GALOP. GALOP is a project funded by the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education, and the Education Outcomes Fund. The project objective is to improve the quality of education in low-performing basic education schools and strengthen education sector equity and accountability in Ghana. GALOP is a result-based financing project in which funds are disbursed to the Ministry for continuous implementation of the project based on the achievement of the Performance Based Conditions and Indicators. Source: Ghana News Agency

Poor internet connectivity is impeding STEAM education -Headmistress

Reverend Sister Benedicta Uzokwe, Headmistress of Sacred Heart Senior High School (SAHESS), has observed that poor internet connectivity has been an obstacle to the successful integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEAM) education in the school. She appealed to stakeholders, particularly internet providers to assist in extending their masts to that part of Nsoatre to enhance internet signals. Rev. Sr. Uzokwe made the statement during the 47th Speech and Prize Giving Day Celebration (SAHESS) at Nsoatre in the Sunyani West Municipality. It was on the theme, 'STEAM Education and Attitudinal Change: The Wheels to Sustainable Development in the 21st century.' Rev. Sr. Uzokwe stated that the school, which initially had a student population of 21 students and three staff members, had experienced significant growth over the years. She said, the school now boasted of student population of 1,390 students, consisting of 485 males and 905 females, furthermore, out of the total student popu lation, 390 males and 785 females were boarders, bringing the total number of boarders to 1,175. The staff population had seen a substantial increase, growing from three to 90, with an additional 47 non-teaching staff members. Rev. Sr. Uzokwe acknowledged the significant progress the school had made over the past decade, highlighting several challenges that must be addressed to propel the school to even greater heights as it approached its 50th anniversary. Highlighting some challenges faced by the school, Sister Uzokwe said inadequate staff accommodation on campus, lack of water storage facility to accommodate the increasing student population, disturbances from town youth and day students. Additionally, the persistent use of mobile phones, limited boarding facilities, the absence of transportation for the headmistress, and shortage of security staff and laborers. Rev. Sr. Uzokwe announced that there were ongoing plans to install projectors in selected classrooms within each block of the school to impro ve teaching and learning by incorporating 21st-century skills and facilitating the effective implementation of the new curriculum. She emphasized the importance of enhancing the study of Agriculture in the school by making it more practically oriented to provide students with hands-on experience. Source: Ghana News Agency

Parents urged to create a conducive learning environment for their children

Dr Rebecca Arthur, a Lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba, has urged parents and guardians to create an enabling and a conducive learning environment for children at home. This, she said, would also promote an easy teaching and learning atmosphere that would be centered on play-based curricular activities. Dr Arthur, in an engagement with the Ghana News Agency to mark this year's 'International Day of Play' at Abor in the Keta Municipality of the Volta Region, called on parents to embrace and prioritise the activities. 'I am a member of the Right to Play monitoring team that guides teachers on how to implement the various pedagogy of teaching and learning for better understanding, and we have achieved positively,' she stated. She said her team had observed a great impact of play in teaching and learning based on children owning the learning processes to prevent instructors from too much talk. Dr Arthur said a hint of a basic school curriculum yet to be implemented had endorsed child-centered teaching and learning which would promote better education. Mr Maxwell Denakpor, the Volta Regional Project Director of Right to Play, told the GNA that the targeted pupils include children between the ages of four to 12. 'Our other targeted audience are educators, teachers, school administrators, caregivers, community leaders, youth organisations, civil societies, NGOs, among others.' He said the primary objectives of the celebration were to raise awareness about the significance of the new International Day of Play (IDOP) and the critical need to integrate play into education practices and community development initiatives using play-based learning pedagogies. Mr Denakpor said the event was also to strengthen the relationship between the Right To Play, government agencies, and local communities. 'It would increase the opportunities for discussion on the importance of developing policies or directives that prioritise play in education.' Teachers and pupils from South Tongu, Akatsi South, Keta, and Anlo ga Districts participated in various forms of play, whilst others also showcased some forms of teaching and learning materials to celebrate the day. The event was attended by some dignitaries which include Mr Gerhard Avudzivi, GES Director at Keta, Mr Domini Yaw Dzanado of Anloga, Mr Karim Ayaana Umar, Director, Akatsi South GES, Mrs Celestine Sewornam Adzo Korsi-Agordo of South Tongu, several others. Source: Ghana News Agency

International Play Day: Right to Play organises event for Basic pupils

Volta Regional branch of 'Right to Play' Ghana has organised a play event for selected basic schools within the Volta Region to enhance teaching and learning. The exercise was aimed at enabling pupils to develop and build their various skills and talents for easy learning through play. Mr Maxwell Denakpor, the Volta Regional Project Director for Right to Play, in an interaction with the Ghana News Agency, said play opened the world for children and helped them to navigate and build the foundations of learning. 'Eventually, on March 25, this year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to create a new International Day of Play with more than 140 countries as co-sponsors which Ghana is also part.' Mr Denakpor further stated that play among children unlocks their positive potential, heals, builds resilience, instills confidence, and advance gender equity, and should be adopted by all schools for the benefit of the children as well as promote learner-based teaching and learning. He said glo bal education experts incessantly stressed the importance of play in making learning engaging, combating learning loss, and helping children overcome trauma and stress since play was considered fundamentally important for 21st-century skills. The skills, he said, include problem solving, collaboration, creativity, and others. 'Play relieves stress, unlocks and taps into children's natural enthusiasm and curiosity to learn. Play is not just for children, evidence indicated that it is critical for adults too.' Mr Denakpor further urged families to create a safe environment for children and make play a daily priority at home and in school to support play-based learning that would foster creativity and critical thinking. He appealed to the government to allocate resources to develop and maintain safe play space for children and advocate for better policies to support safe and inclusive play. Some teachers and pupils of the GNA interacted with expressed optimism about the exercise. They expressed appreciatio n to the organisers and sponsors for the projects. Children and teachers participated in various plays which included chair-dance, climbing the hill, volleyball, table tennis, among others. Exhibition and display of teaching and learning materials were also showcased during the exercise. The celebration was on the theme: 'Toy Library Grow Sustainable Cities and Communities through Play.' Source: Ghana News Agency

Let’s accord basic schoolteachers the required dignity-Paramount Queen-mother

A queen-mother has called on Ghanaians to accord basic schoolteachers the dignity they require to inspire them to work harder to enhance quality education in the country. Nana Yaa Adanse Poduo II, the Paramount Queen-mother of the Odomase Number One Traditional Area in the Sunyani West Municipality made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Odomase Number Two. She emphasised that teaching was not only a noble profession, but a divine call, and commended teachers for their immeasurable contributions towards the holistic development of the nation. Nana Poduo II who was speaking to the GNA after she presented quantities of sanitary pads to some girls in the municipality, said the nation ought to do more to recognize and acknowledge the roles of teachers towards growth and development of education in the country. She presented the sanitary pads to the form three girls of the Odomase Municipal Assembly and the Odomase Presbyterian Basic Schools to improve on their personal hygiene. Nana Poduo II also called on the Government to also improve the condition of service of teachers while urging teachers to redouble their efforts to improve the academic performance of pupils and students. 'We can't look unconcerned for the sacrifices of teachers to go unnoticed,' she stated and advised parents to also support teachers to nurture the children in a more responsible manner. Nana Poduo II called on wealthy natives of Odomase, both home and abroad to come back home and contribute their quota towards the renovation of the local Presbyterian school, saying, 'we all passed through, and we must all assist to enhance the educational infrastructure of the school.' Earlier, Mrs Mavis Afowaa, expressed worry about the dilapidated classroom blocks of the school, and appealed for assistance towards its rehabilitation. She also appealed for support towards the construction of washrooms and places of convenience for the school children and the teachers. Mrs Afowaa expressed appreciation to the queen-mother an d the entire Odomase Number One Traditional Council for their continuous support towards improving the school environment. Source: Ghana News Agency

Newmont organises ‘Read to Inspire’ to enhance literacy in community schools

Newmont's Women and Allies Business Resource Group (BRG) in Ahafo has organised its 'Read to Inspire' outreach programme to improve literacy among basic school students in the Ahafo mine and Ahafo North projects' host communities. The Group distributed over 10,000 exercise books, textbooks, and other stationery to five schools, along with volunteers, who engaged in reading sessions with the students. The schools included Afrisipakrom Roman Catholic Cluster of Schools, Susuanso Roman Catholic, Susuanso Presbyterian School, and the Methodist and Roman Catholic Basic Schools in Kenyasi No. 1. This is contained in a press release from the Company and made available to the Ghana News Agency. According to the statement, the Group since 2017, had supported schools in Newmont's host communities through donations and mentoring of pupils and students. It said it was one of the Company's diversity and inclusion initiatives aimed at fostering a supportive and inclusive environment within the Organisation. The state ment said the Group focused on empowering women and their allies through various initiatives, activities, and programmes. According to the statement, Mr. Peter Vaadi, the Headmaster of Afrisipakrom Roman Catholic Cluster of Schools, appreciated the gesture, saying, 'We thank Newmont for its support to communities in this enclave, and we will ensure that the donation is used for its intended purpose. Considering that we just started a new term, this donation will greatly support teaching and learning.' Also, Charlotte Baffour Awuah, Headmistress of Susuanso Roman Catholic School, thanked the BRG and highlighted the impact on students preparing for their exams. Knowing the value of educational resources, Newmont Women and Allies BRG has continuously invested in such programmes to support literacy and child education. Over the years, Newmont has driven various literacy and educational initiatives in its host communities, including the Newmont Gold-4-Gold Childhood Reading Literacy Programme. Launched in par tnership with United Way Ghana and the Ghana Library Authority in 2019, this programme aims to enhance literacy among lower primary children in targeted communities. Source: Ghana News Agency

We are implementing initiatives to ensure inclusive education-Minister

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Education, says the government is implementing policies and initiatives to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Dr Adutwum said the government was updating Ghana's education curriculum to meet the demands of the 21st century, emphasizing critical thinking, problem-solving, and digital literacy. 'We are expanding and modernizing our Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes to equip students with the technical skills required in various industries,' he said. The Minister said this in Accra at the opening ceremony of the Africa Regional Conference on Education and Skills Development on the theme, 'Unlocking Africa's Youth Potential for Socio-economic Transformation.' The conference was organized by the ESDEV Foundation Africa in collaboration with Accra Technical University (ATU). It brought together policymakers, educators, industry leaders, and young aspiring professionals to enga ge in meaningful dialogue, share best practices, and forge partnerships that will drive the future of education and skills development in Africa. The conference's objectives include, finding solutions to the challenges of unemployment and skills development for employability and entrepreneurship facing Africa's youth population. The theme, the Minister stated, resonated with the aspirations and future of Ghana and the continent, adding that Africa's youth were not just the leaders of tomorrow but the dynamic force of today, poised to drive the nations towards greater socio-economic development and global competitiveness. 'In Ghana, we have long recognized that the key to sustainable development lies in empowering our youth through quality education and robust skills development programs. It is essential that we provide our young people with not only the knowledge but also the practical skills needed to thrive in an ever-evolving global economy,' he said. He called for effective collaborations with industr y, civil society, and international organizations to enhance the relevance and impact of the country's educational programmes to be fit for purpose. Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth, the Minister stressed, would foster job creation and economic growth and called on development partners to provide valuable support and resources to complement government efforts. Prof. Francis Owusu-Mensah, Chief Executive Officer, ESDEV Foundation Africa, said TVET was not merely an alternative educational pathway but a crucial vehicle for empowering the youth with entrepreneurial skills and practical knowledge required for sustainable development. 'By advocating for and investing in TVET, we aim to unlock the potential of young Africans, reducing unemployment rates and fostering a culture of self-reliance and entrepreneurship,' he said. He said the Foundation would continue to deepen its collaboration with Technical Universities in Ghana and across Africa through its flagship projects, 'Innovate 4 Employment' and 'Innovate Launch', unveiled in South Africa and Nigeria. The initiative, he stressed, was designed to empower student entrepreneurs by providing the resources, mentorship, and support necessary to transform innovative ideas into successful start-ups. The programme will begin in Ghana with our Technical Universities in August 2024, and will target students with a passion for entrepreneurship and TVET, offering them a structured pathway to develop, refine, and launch their business ventures. Prof Amevi Acakpovi, Acting Vice Chancellor, ATU, said the University had made significant strides in advancing TVET education and promoting entrepreneurial spirit among the students. He said the institution had successfully launched a new Bachelor of Technology and Masters programmes, and established robust partnerships with industry leaders to provide hands-on training and cooperative education opportunities. These initiatives, he stated, had laid a strong foundation for the students to develop the skills and competencies needed to excel in the modern workforce. Source: Ghana News Agency

Paul Boateng to deliver keynote address at UPSA Annual Leadership Lecture 2024

Mr Paul Yaw Boateng, Member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom will deliver the keynote at the University of Professional Studies, Accra's (UPSA) 2024 Annual Leadership Lecture. The UPSA in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency said the public lecture, which is on the theme 'Fulfilling the Promise-The Challenge of Leadership: Moving from Rhetoric to Delivery' is slated for Tuesday, June 18, 2024, will be held at the Kofi Ohene Konadu Auditorium, UPSA campus, at 1000 hours. The lecture is designed to provide an intellectual platform for distinguished speakers from around the world to examine and discuss critical global and national issues pertinent to society and proffer suggestions for Ghana's sustainable development. The event is open to the public and is expected to draw a wide audience from academia, industry, politics, traditional authority, and civil society. The statement said attendees would have the opportunity to engage Mr Boateng on the critical issues facing leaders today and the practical steps needed to fulfil the promise of leadership in transformative ways. It said past distinguished speakers at the UPSA Annual Leadership Lecture include Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambers, former President John Agyekum Kufuor, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, and renowned economist Mr Kwame Pianim. Mr Boateng is a globally renowned diplomat, lawyer, and politician. He has extensive experience in government and public service, having served in various high-level positions in the UK government and played significant roles on the global front. He was the first person of African descent to serve in a British cabinet when he was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2002 and later Minister of State for Police and Prisons. In 2005, Mr Boateng returned to Africa as the UK's High Commissioner to South Africa and the Prime Minister's Special Representative to the Africa Commission. He played a pivotal role in promoting cooperation and development in the region. Beyon d government, Mr Boateng has held significant positions in the corporate sector, including as Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Nominations and Remuneration Committee of the Ghana International Bank. He also chairs Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor, a development utilities advisory company that supports underserved communities in Africa and Bangladesh. Mr Boateng is passionate about community relations, youth development, and the performing arts. He is the current chair of the Church of England's Archbishops Commission on Racial Justice and Co-Chair of the Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission. He also serves on the board of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Ballet Rambert Source: Ghana News Agency

10,000 out-of-school children to be back to school this year

The Reverend John Ntim Fordjour, a Deputy Minister of Education in charge of General Education, says the Education Ministry through the Complementary Education Agency will bring back 10,000 out-of-school children into school this year. 'Last year alone, 3,000 out-of-school children were brought back to school through the Complementary Education Agency (CEA). This year, we are targeting 10,000 children by the close of year.' 'We also have another programme running, that is Ghana Education Outcome Project (GEOP), which is targeting 70,000 children that are out of school to reintegrate them back into school and to give them the skills needed to thrive,' he said. Mr Fordjour said this during a Conference on Tackling Out-Of-School Children in West Africa organised by the Associates For Change in partnership with the Centre For the Study of Economies of Africa, Dalan Development Consultants and the Complementary Education Agency. The two-day event focused on 'Scaling up accelerated education programmes in Afric a to tackle the high prevalence of Out of School Children in West Africa.' The Minister said it formed part of Government's resolve to ensure all children of school age had access to education devoid of status and condition. He said the Ministry in the last two years, that's in the first years of the functioning of the CEA and GEOP, had been able to reintegrate 17,000 out-of-school children into schools. Mr Fordjour said though the numbers of out-of-school children were growing globally, Government was committed to ensure that whatever challenges, being it societal or financial, that led them out of school, were addressed systematically to ensure their continuous stay in school. 'We cannot have a holistic education and be proud of what we have done and achieved within the Ministry of Education if we don't tackle out-of-school children,' he added. Mr Fordjour said between 2017 and 2024 Government had built more than 1,132 educational infrastructure from the kindergarten to the higher levels of education t o improve school enrollment and learning. He said, so far, Ghana had been able to achieve a gross pre-primary enrollment of 100 percent, making it one of the few countries in the world that had been able to achieve such feet. Dr James Natia Adam, Research Technical Lead, Associates For Change, urged Governments of West Africa to allocate at least five per cent of their Gross Domestic Product to address the increasing numbers of out-of-school children in the subregion. 'When Governments in the subregion increase their investments to support out-of-school initiatives and programmes, it can help address the issues that we are faced with.' 'For instance, if the Government of Ghana adequately supports the CEA, it may also be able to work in partnership with education innovators to carry on with accelerated education programmes to support out-of-school children,' he said. New UNESCO data shows that 244 million children and youth between the ages of six and 18 worldwide are still out of school with 40 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa. Source: Ghana News Agency

Sefwi-Bekwai SHS wins Western North renewable energy challenge competition

Students of the Sefwi-Bekwai Senior High School (SHS) in the Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai Municipality have won the 2024 Western North Regional Renewable Energy Challenge Competition as defending champions. They won the competition with a project work that demonstrated the purification of water, designed to address issues related to pollution of water in areas where illegal mining was rampant. They scored 76.2 points to win the competition, while Sefwi-Wiawso SHS placed second with 70 points, and Awaso STEM SHS came third with 69.5 points with Queens Girls SHS and St. Joseph's SHS recording 66 and 64.8 points respectively. The champions would represent the region at the zonal level. The challenge, organised by the Energy Commission in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES), was under the theme: 'Application of Renewable Energy Technologies in Solving Land Degradation and Water Pollution.' Mr Julius Nkansah-Nyarko, the General Manager, Renewable Energy and Project Coordinator, Energy Commission, said the challenge sought to promote energy research and development among students, and facilitate the establishment of mentorship programme to advance ideas into game-challenging solutions. He said the challenge was also to assist students to come out with innovative skills, ideas, and projects to transform the energy sector, especially on lands and water bodies in Ghana. He said: 'It is to serve as a platform to foster renewable energy-focused research and development among students and facilitate mentorship programmes that encourage the transformation of ideas into impactful and commercially viable solutions.' Mr Nkansah explained that the competition would be grouped into the Southern and Northern zones and that three schools would be selected from each zone to compete for the grand finale in October this year in Accra. Mr Frederick Owusu, the Western North Regional STEM and SHS Coordinator, on behalf of the Western North Regional Director of Education, expressed gratitude to the organizers, sponsors , teachers, and students for the good job done. He also commended the Energy Commission for the educative and innovative programme, which he noted would help transform the economy and enhance the lives of students. Mr Owusu congratulated the winners and encouraged them to work harder as they prepared to represent the region at the zonal level. Source: Ghana News Agency