Improving academic quality is hard work but we’re committed to making gains through teacher training and technology.
We’ve been making slow but steady progress with our use of Teachermate in Ghana and Rwanda to improve literacy skills. In Rwanda, we’ve been using iPods to deliver Teachermate over the course of two academic terms. Early results are really encouraging. In Ghana, we’ve been working with two schools for one academic term. When we initiated pre-testing with the students in Ghana, 90% of students scored below 50% on USAID’s Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA). None of the teachers have degrees in education.
Kofi Essien, Country Manager from our implementing partner, Open Learning Exchange – Ghana, comes this important observation:
With each passing day the confidence levels of both teachers and pupils rises tremendously. Pupils now have moved from working in pairs to working on the TM as individuals. Each has an iPod assigned to him/her. Teachers have started to multi-task… In order to make a greater impact on the schools and the quality of education they offer as well as the effect it has on the children for lifelong learning, there is the need to draw up and execute a continuous and comprehensive teacher professional development program for both teachers and management.
The most important finding so far in this work is that we have to support the teachers with training to improve the pace of learning for each child. The teachers and proprietors that we serve are earnest, committed and enthusiastic. They need help on how to meet the needs of each student and technology is one tool that contributes to this goal. The technology that we’re using has been a means to accomplishing this end but we’re seeing slow, uneven progress. Admittedly, we’re just getting started.
We’re excited at the same time that we’re working already to move in new directions for additional teacher support with technology as an enabler. To that end, we will be working with Open Learning Exchange on the Ghana Reads program funded by All Children Reading Grand Challenge for Development. Two schools that Edify serves will be selected to participate in the 2 year pilot. This is an exciting, intensive and holistic program to equip teachers for improving literacy instruction with technology as an enabler. We will keep you posted on our involvement but you can track OLE’s efforts here.