Plan Ghana rekindles learning zeal in students through satellite technology

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Satellite Students
Satellite Students

Plan International Ghana with funding from UK Aid, has transitioned 14,000 girls and 11,000 boys from 72 basic schools, in the Greater Accra and Oti regions through its MGCubed Girls’ Education Challenge programme.

In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service, Plan Ghana’s project aimed at supporting the learning and transitioning of girls and boys in primary and junior high schools through the delivery of high quality educational content using solar powered satellite-enabled distance learning technology.

The progress and status of the project was shared when Plan International Ghana held a learning and dissemination programme on the theme: “Eight Years of Inclusive and Gender Responsive Teaching and Learning in Ghana using Education Technology” in Accra.

Mr Jesus Miguel Falcon Perez, the MGCubed Project Manager, said the project gave pupils and students, especially girls incentives to attend school more regularly, return to, or begin attending school through online remedial in literacy and numeracy.

To improve teaching quality, the project organised regular capacity building for teachers through annual face-to-face and termly online training and mentoring via other platforms.

Explaining the project implementation, he said mechanisms were put in place to build transformative non-cognitive life skills such as financial literacy, role model sessions, adolescence and sexual and reproductive health and rights, self-esteem and confidence through club sessions.

Other activities under the project were ‘By-grade English and Maths lessons’ and ‘Remedial in Literacy and Numeracy’ for Primary 3-JHS2 (828 hours per year), ‘after-school clubs’, and provision of learning packs and teaching materials.

The project, managed by Plan International UK, also provided televisions and decoders for learners to access the Ghana Learning Television (GLTV), offered phone based learning support, personal protective and wash equipment to schools, supported in GLTV content production, and transferred cash to support the students during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic among others.

Mr Solomon Tesfamariam, the Country Director, Plan International Ghana, expressed contentment with the project exposing students to aspiring role models like Princess Anne, TV presenter Anita Erskine, and most recently in May this year, the UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls Education, Helen Grant.

Speaking of Plan Ghana’s GLTV lessons, he said it reached three million children across Ghana, which was a huge achievement and contribution towards the national effort in such an unprecedented crisis of COVID-19.

The UK, he said, was committed to supporting the rights of women and girls in Ghana, and ongoing improvements to girls’ education and Ghana’s digital transformation, through the use of ‘edtech’ to improve equitable access to quality education for all Ghana’s children.

“As such, we are handing over the four Accra-based MGCubed studios to the Ministry of Education’s Centre for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling, and the 216 sets of school-based satellite and solar technology packages to GES.

“My colleague Grace visited CENDLOS a couple of weeks ago, and saw the studios being set up as we speak. We are also handing over all guidelines, manuals, and teaching and learning materials to the Ministry and GES to inform their policies and approaches,” he said.

The Country Director highlighted his office’s zeal to work with the Ministry and civil society organisations to support reforms and policies to improve gender equality and social inclusion in education, drive forward ICT in education reforms, and enable the most marginalized girls to access education, learn and progress.

Mr John Ntim Fordjour, the Deputy Minister of Education, expressed gratitude to Plan International for its consistent partnership with government to address the core weakness in the educational system including learning poverty.

According to data gathered, he said only two per cent of school going children under 10 years were able to read proficiently, a situation he said needed robust educational measures and system with high levels of numeracy and literacy.

The Ministry was working towards organising a National Standardised Test for Primary Four pupils in public basic schools on Friday, December 17, 2021, he said and explained that the results would enable government formulate policies to enhance the educational sector.

Ms Harriet Thompson, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, said the project was one of the three global projects being funded by the UK to promote the inclusion of many girls in acquiring knowledge.

He reiterated that the UK was committed to help offer Ghanaian children especially, girls quality education.

She extended gratitude to the project team for hard work since it commenced in 2013, and expressed optimism that its implementation would help to reduce gender inequality in basic schools.

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