Stakeholders in Ghana’s educational sector have highlighted the need for adopting technology (Ed-Tech) in bridging the learning gap that was created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
All schools in Ghana and other parts of the world were shut down at the peak of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020.
Although schools were opened and learners allowed to return to the classroom almost a year later, many teachers are still struggling to make up for the lost time.
Speaking on the EdTech Monday Show with Bernard Avle on Citi FM, three stakeholders shared their opinions on the topic: Harnessing the power of technology to create resilient education systems.
The programme is a collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) Africa.
The panel included Dr. Josephine Marie Godwyll, Founding Director of Young at Heart Ghana; Richmond Agyemang Jnr, a teacher at Nkawie Senior Secondary Technical School; and Amtu Akumfi-Ameyaw, the Women’s Commissioner of the University Students’ Association of Ghana (USAG).
Dr. Josephine Marie Godwyll said the educational system suffered a massive shock due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She explained that there was a disruption in the learning times in various schools; in that school closures reduced the amount of time dedicated to learning.
In her view, deploying the innovative engagement prowess of technology will help make up for the lost learning time without making education boring for young students.
“We lost about two terms due to the closures. The Ghana Education Service (GES) has attempted to make up for this by increasing hours, especially in basic schools. And that is where EdTech comes in, because you’re looking at young people who have very limited attention span and there’s a limitation on how long you can keep them in the classroom,” she said.
“So the innovative engagement prowess of technology definitely comes in; the ways to engage young people to stimulate their creativity and allow them to learn in the extra times that we’re trying to recoup and also ensure that they’re not bored or treating education as a burden.”
On his part, Richmond Agyemang Jnr. said several teachers had to move from traditional ways of teaching to embracing the use of technology to teach their pupils.
Citing himself as an example, the Nkawie Senior Secondary Technical School teacher said he usually uses his laptop to project videos in a bid to get his students on the same wavelength.
“When I got the chance to go back to the classroom, I introduced the flip classroom where I ask students to go home and complete the reading and when they come back to the school, we then do the problem-solving in the classroom,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Amtu Akumfi-Ameyaw also discussed how education has changed at the tertiary level since the COVID pandemic.
According to her, although there were already systems in place for online learning, the pandemic forced teachers to adopt and increase technology use..
“We already had the systems in place for online learning but it wasn’t so efficient because we’re so used to a lot of physical interaction,” the Women’s Commissioner of the University Students’ Association of Ghana said.
EdTech Monday is an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation’s Regional Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT and part of the Foundation’s strategy to find solutions to Africa’s youth employment by closing the gap in access to quality education, and advancing the integration of technology in education policies and practices across Africa.
To realise this vision in Ghana, the Mastercard Foundation has partnered with MEST Africa, a pan-African technology institution to bring the EdTech Monday show on the last Monday of every month.
Watch the full conversation here.