Williams Edward, Mathematics teacher, taking level one pupils of the Donkorkrom EP Primary School through a DL in Mathematics
Williams Edward, Mathematics teacher, taking level one pupils of the Donkorkrom EP Primary School through a DL in Mathematics
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UNICEF pilots differentiated learning in Donkorkrom

The UNICEF has introduced a new type of pedagogical approach that assesses children on their level of ability to read and write on a pilot basis in a basic school in the Kwahu Afram Plains North District of the Eastern Region.

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The intervention, which is known as Differentiated Learning (DL), and focuses on English language and Mathematics, further groups learners by level of ability, regardless of age, to provide targeted teaching.

So far, a total number of 195 head teachers and teachers in the district have been trained in the DL pedagogy.

How DL works

Under DL, the learners are assessed and grouped into three levels; for instance, in English, children who can only identify letters are grouped under Level One and those who can identify words in reading are under Level Two.

Learners placed under Level Three are considered to be those who have been assessed and found to be able to identify paragraphs and read stories. All the necessary teaching and learning materials such as textbooks, teacher guides and workbooks have been provided to the teachers.

The DL is part of about 40 different activities under a programme called the Community of Excellence Project (CEP) being embarked on by UNICEF in the Kwahu Afram Plains North and the Builsa North in the Eastern and Upper East regions respectively.

It is being rolled out in Ghana alongside Côte d'Ivoire and Colombia.

Jacobs Foundation

The project is funded by a Zurich-based philanthropic organisation, the Jacobs Foundation, and is being implemented by the Ghana Education Service (GES). The two-year $ 2.3-million project, which kickstarted in June 2022 and is expected to end in September 2024, seeks to promote quality education.

The foundation believes that quality education can only be achieved if education policy and practice are supported by evidence of what works best for children.

Improving learning

A visit to the Donkorkrom EP Basic School by a team from the UNICEF Ghana office, where the project is being piloted, was an exciting sight as the children, who were put under the various levels were enthusiastically glued to their lessons.

Explaining, the Head teacher of the school, Asabea Keziah, was excited that the DL had helped improve teaching and learning outcomes since it was introduced in the school a year ago.

She said the children were always looking forward to the first lesson of the day, which was always devoted to the DL pedagogy, adding that it was mostly practical with the teacher moderating.

Scale up

For the Education Specialist of UNICEF, Dr Tillmann Guenthes, the DL, as an educational intervention, had proved to be a usual tool and it was left to the government and, for that matter, the GES to replicate it and scale it up nationwide as part of the national educational pedagogy.

He said the various interventions under the CEP, including the DL, had proved to have had a significant impact on school enrolment and retention in the implementing schools. Dr Guenthes said UNICEF would be excited to share with the GES the various best practices and interventions, which could be adopted and scaled up.

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