I ride on the wave of renewed hope that the New Year brings to wish all stakeholders in the E-Learning space and by extension, all Ghanaians, a very happy New Year. 2022 holds great prospects for Education, particularly Technology-Mediated Learning and ICT. It is therefore crucial that the Centre for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling (CENDLOS), the state-mandated agency responsible for E-Learning and ICT development, speedily and purposefully hits the action button on our developmental keyboard.
Last year was an eventful one for CENDLOS. Internally, as well as in close collaboration with our key partners and stakeholders, we firmly established the structures needed to actualise our new three-pronged vision of Rebranding, Repurposing and Repositioning CENDLOS in order to effectively and efficiently deliver on our mandate, which dovetails into the larger vision of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Government of Ghana. Having solidly put in place the necessary structures, CENDLOS is set to embark on a bold and transformative E-Learning and ICT agenda this year and beyond.
The paradigm shift in education delivery is taking place at an unprecedented pace. This shift is now being inflamed, fuelled and intensely fanned by the Covid-19 pandemic. The global reality is that there is no end in sight as yet, as far as the pandemic is concerned. So we cannot rest content with the modest achievements of the past years. On the contrary, the mandate of CENDLOS in education delivery has become ultra-crucial; far more crucial than it has ever been. Technology-mediated Learning is the sure cure for the widening of access gap and learning deficit Ghana and the global community are presently facing.
In view of the above, CENDLOS is poised to build on the successes achieved, in order to ensure that the national and global vision of leveraging and optimising technology to create a Ghana and a world where quality, equitably accessible and developmentally responsive education is available to all learners, regardless of location or other circumstances of life becomes a living reality. CENDLOS has therefore outlined a number of key interventions, programmes and activities to be implemented this year, a few of which will be highlighted here:
Quality research ranks high on our priority list. As the digital technology arm of MOE, we appreciate the value of quality data as a key driver in the planning and decision-making process. In collaboration with the Kofi Annan Centre for Excellence in ICT, CENDLOS will embark on a number of high-value research projects across the country. Findings will serve as inputs in the planning, design and implementation of various ICT-based developmental projects for education, as well as in our backstopping role for MOE and other institutions.
The shift towards E-Learning, coupled with the digitisation and digitalization drives of government must necessarily go hand-in-hand with the acquisition of digital skills sets by students and the citizenry at large. Without the requisite digital skills, the benefits of digital technology cannot be maximized and sustained. CENDLOS will therefore begin an intensive and extensive ICT and digital literacy outreach programme this year. To that end, a brand-new Mercedes van has been acquired with sponsorship from The World Bank. The vehicle has been retrofitted and fully branded to be used to reach and train teachers and learners in especially underserved communities across the country. We hope to grow the transportation resource base for this important project from a single vehicle to a sizeable fleet with help from other partners and the donor community.
Coupled with the above, digital content creation for Distance Learning will also be given a major boost this year. CENDLOS in collaboration with Plan Ghana, FCDO and Dubai Cares, is constructing six (6) content production studios to deliver real-time and recorded educational content to students. A model studio has been completed and the remaining five (5) are near completion. The studios are expected to go live and start churning out quality educational content within the first quarter of this year.
In our quest to increase the number of learning pathways and offer more flexibility to learners and prospective learners, CENDLOS will collaborate with academic and non-academic institutions within and outside Ghana to create on-demand, standardized and customized technology-mediated training courses for various learner communities. Other initiatives to expand the scale and increase the diversity of digital learning options for learner communities will also be pursued this year.
A study conducted by CENDLOS shows that the Virtual Learning space in Ghana is uncoordinated. Therefore, under the auspices of MOE and other key partners, we will organise the maiden edition of the Virtual Learning conference this year. This event will bring together all key actors in the E-Learning and ICT space to build the necessary synergies and networks to help drive the Virtual Learning agenda of MOE and government in a well-coordinated manner. Further, we will endeavour to continue seeking support for the continuation of existing interventions such as the installation of iBox devices in selected schools to make educational content available to teachers and students.
While we reach out to existing and potential donors and partners, we will simultaneously implement a number of business development initiatives to grow our internally-generated funds (IGF). Key among these initiatives will be the production, packaging and marketing of educational content on secure flash drives called the CENDLOS Master Flash. Several other progressive initiatives that are in the pipeline will be communicated to all stakeholders in due course.
To conclude, I wish to emphasize that CENDLOS actively seeks to build bridges with new partners while we strengthen relationships with existing partners and collaborators. The successful pursuit of our mandate requires the active cooperation, contribution and collaboration of all progressive-minded institutions, groups and individuals. We, therefore, invite all who share in our mission and vision to join hands with us to develop Digital Learning and ICT in Ghana. Once again, a Happy New Year to all our stakeholders.
The writer, Nana Gyamfi Adwabour, is the Executive Director of CENDLOS.