ICT training for teachers in Ghana

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How a UNESCO ICT training is making a difference for a high school teacher in Ghana

Meet Hebatu Numbu, an English high school teacher in Walewake, Ghana. She is one of 413 junior and senior high school teachers across Ghana who have benefited from the UNESCO pilot Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) training. Following four 3-day hybrid modules co-organized by the Ministry of Education and the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the ERT course will soon be available on the Imagine Learning platform, with a potential to reach up to 15,000 teachers in the country.

“When I was invited to the workshop, I wondered what exactly emergency remote teaching technology was. I expected to learn to plan and teach at distance during crisis situations. Now, I have realized that I do not have to wait for a crisis to teach my students online, create a class on Moodle or set up a Zoom meeting.” – Hebatu Numbu, English teacher, senior high school in Walewale, Ghana

The pilot ERT training has been a key activity of the UNESCO-Korea Funds-in-Trust (KFIT) project “ICT Transforming Education in Africa”, an initiative that fosters human and social development in African countries through the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for education. Together with Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, Ghana is one of the beneficiaries of the second phase of the project.

The initiative fully aligns with the Call to Action on Quality public digital learning for all issued during the 2022 Transforming Education Summit by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, specifically with the commitment to “building the capacity of all teachers and relevant education personnel so they can harness the power of digital resources to support their students to learn.” In Ghana, several actions have been taken to enhance the quality and coordination of ICT in education training programmes for pre- and in-service teachers and educators. More precisely, the project has supported the localization of the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers, as well as a desk review of existing ICT curricula and skills gap analysis for teachers. To ensure a wider reach and sustainability, discussions are ongoing with the National Teaching Council and other platforms for teachers to host the ERT course for both pre- and in-service teachers across Ghana.

ICT training for teachers in Ghana
Hebatu Numbu, English high school teacher in Walewale, Ghana.

The ERT course curriculum has been designed for teachers with little or no experience in using technology and aims to equip them with the skills and knowledge to integrate technology in their teaching practice, in both normal and crisis situations. The programme comprises 11 units, covering basic understanding of devices and hardware, technology for assessment, use of social media to communicate, collection and evaluation of digital teaching resources, etc. Teachers who complete the course are not only able to seamlessly transition to online learning when necessary, but also to leverage the potential of technology to enhance in-classroom teaching and learning practices.

Over a year later, Hebatu has indeed been able to successfully transition from her old “textbooks and marker board” way of teaching to including new practices learned from the UNESCO emergency remote teaching training. “Teaching my students has become easier, faster and more interesting with the use of audios and videos. Instead of writing vowel and consonant sounds on the board and pronouncing them to my students, I play a recording of these sounds using my laptop, speakers and a projector. Apart from reading our drama under core literature, we are able to watch movies of them too, which makes it easier for my students to understand. I have also been able to teach my student how to use search engines to look for important information.”

The training has also proved useful in preparing her lesson plans: “Thanks to UNESCO, I can now prepare my lesson plan using Excel. I am also able to present some of my lessons with PowerPoint which was very difficult for me to do.”

On a personal note, the UNESCO training provided Hebatu with helpful tips for outside the classroom: “I now organize Zoom meetings for my family and have taught my family members how to use Zoom, so our family meetings are made easier.”

Once the ERT course is made available on the UNESCO Imagine Learning platform for anglophone West African countries, it is expected that many more teachers across Ghana are able, like Hebatu, to strengthen their digital skills, improve their pedagogical practices and transform education for their learners.