Making Ghanaian Girls Great (MGCUBED) is Ghana and West Africa’s first interactive distance-learning project, introduced by the Varkey Foundation.
In order for Varkey Foundation to continue to deliver on its high quality interactive distance learning programmes in Ghana, five studios have been opened in Accra on Thursday, at the foundation.
The five studios will be used for the Making Ghanaian Girls Great (MGCubed) programme funded by UKaid, which uses interactive distance learning technology to deliver Maths and English lessons daily, to girls (and boys) in deprived communities, and as well as after school clubs for students; Train for Tomorrow, which uses the same technology to deliver a teacher training programme to schools where staff have had little training; and the Teach to Reach Remote Classrooms Project, where lessons are beamed direct to children living in the Ampain refugee camp.
All these programmes have until now operated via three studios at the Varkey Foundation’s former offices in Cantonments. With the Foundation moving to its new premises in Abelemkpe, it means the number of studios can be increased to five.
The studios will deliver lessons to approximately 30,000 children in 72 schools under the MGCubed programme and training to teachers in 419 schools, benefiting approximately 90,000 children under Train for Tomorrow, plus 300 children in the Ampain camp.
The projects are already helping to improve educational outcomes in Ghana. For example, an independent evaluation of MGCubed conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA showed the model has had a significant impact on increasing literacy and numeracy skills among marginalised girls and boys.
In literacy tests, MGCubed students were able to read between 3.21-3.74 more words per minute than those in regular classes; and in numeracy tests MGCubed teaching was found to increase average scores by the equivalent of one school year.
The Deputy Minister of Education and the MP for Bosomtwe Constituency, Dr. Osei Yaw Adutwum in his keynote address said, the Ministry was very pleased with the kind of enormous work Verkey Foundation has been doing in the country, which has eventually had a significant impact
on increasing literacy and numeracy skills among marginalised girls and boys.
He said, education is one of the government’s key priority area, and Verkey Foundation is on the right rack in contributing to government’s educational priority come true. Dr. Adutwum however, assured that, government would partner Verkey Foundation, in order to expand the programme across the length and breath of the country.
Leonora Dowley, the Varkey Foundation’s Country Director for Ghana in her address said, “We’re delighted to be opening these new studios today. As well as meaning an increased number of studios which are bigger in size than the ones in our previous offices, they’ve also been fitted with the latest technology to help us continue to deliver high quality education and training to children and teachers across the country.”
According to her, Varkey Foundation believes every child deserves a vibrant, stimulating learning environment that awakens and supports their full potential. Adding that, nothing is more important to achieving this than the passion and quality of teachers.
“We support global teaching capacity and seed excellence and innovation in the next generation of educators. We also founded the Global Teacher Prize to shine a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world,” she said.
Funded by Dubai Cares, Train for Tomorrow is a US $2 million project to train school leaders to become Instructional Leaders first through face-to-face training, and then through a distance-learning cascade, made possible by a satellite link and solar-powered infrastructure.
Train for Tomorrow also aims to improve teaching practice through regular interactive, activity-based training sessions, to develop teachers’ pedagogical methods and subject knowledge; to create more positive classroom environments; and to support the development of a more accountable monitoring system of teaching quality.
At the moment, the programme is being implemented in Ghana’s Eastern Region, in the districts of Birim North, Birim Central, Birim South and Akyemansa, Greater Accra, Volta Region and Western Region at the refugee camp. And in an expectation to expand the programme across the length and breath of the country.
Spelling about the benefits of Train for Tomorrow, Ofori Barnes, a teacher from Ofease St. Johns Model School, Akyemansa district, also said, “I can confidently apply all T4T strategies in the classroom and lesson delivery has become less cumbersome with the introduction of T4T strategies and student centred activities.”
Philip Smith, DFID’s Country Director, on his part said, “The MGCubed project, which was funded through DFID’s Girls Education Challenge has demonstrated the potential to use technology to improve learning outcomes of girls in rural schools and the expansion of the studios will enable some of the most marginalised girls and boys to be reached through the interactive technology.”
The project is been funded by the Department for International Development (DFID)’s Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC)