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Workshop on ICT education policy held

BY: Della Russel Ocloo
Some representatives of the various agencies at the review workshop. PIX: DELLA RUSSEL OCLOO
Some representatives of the various agencies at the review workshop. PIX: DELLA RUSSEL OCLOO

A stakeholder workshop to review the existing information, communication, and technology (ICT) in education policy aimed to ensure ICT competencies for teachers in Ghana has been held in Accra.

The project being led by the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is being funded by the Korean Funds-In-Trust (K-FIT) with the aim to support a selected number of sub-Saharan African countries to test effective models of using ICT as a catalyst for institutional transformations.

That officials believe this will contribute to achieving the targets of the Sustainable Development Goal Four (SDG 4) in the beneficiary countries including Ghana.

It is being run in partnership with the Centre for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling (CENDLOS).

Representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service (GES), the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA), the National Schools Inspectorate Authority (NaSIA), and Teacher Associations participated in the programme which saw them making proposals for the review of the framework on ICT compliance by educators.

The goal is also to improve learning outcomes and the acquisition of digital literacy, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity and innovation skills of teachers and learners.

ICT Compliance

Speaking at the programme, UNESCO Representative to Ghana, Abdourahamane Diallo indicated that the review programme had become necessary to ensure a sustained policy framework for ICT education in Ghana.

He indicated that whereas Ghana’s existing ICT in education policy was based on a UNESCO generic programme on a global ICT competency framework, the growing dynamics in ICT has brought about the need for countries to contextualise the framework to meet their specific needs.

UNESCO, Mr Diallo noted is supporting countries within the sub-region in the area of education and “it is our responsibility to help Ghana by creating a roadmap by bringing the funds and expertise together to ensure a sustained programme that will empower both teachers and learners while transforming education in Ghana,” Mr Diallo said.

Capacity

Under the project, he said that a number of training programmes has been organised for nearly 800 teachers nationwide, and this he believes will also help Ghana to have open education resources where content (materials) will be freely available for access via online platforms by everybody.

The Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Diallo stressed had come to identify what he said were pitfalls in the existing policy and the lack of capacity for educators.

That, he said went to expose the deficiencies with ICT use particularly in public schools within the period that children had to stay out of school as a result of the pandemic and expressed the hope that the updated policy will help bridge the gap.

Licensure Exams

A Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science at KNUST, Dr Eric Opoku Osei presenting the situational analysis on the project stressed the need for stakeholders and policymakers to learn from best practices in scaling up competency in ICT in education.

According to him, countries such as China have a mandatory policy on ICT competency-based exams for people seeking to teach.

As such, Dr Osei emphasised the importance of expanding the scope of the National Teaching Council’s (NTC) licensure exams to include ICT competency for pre-service teachers.

“ICT competency could also be used as a coercive incentive where it becomes part of the promotion culture and it will be important for the GES to lead the way in that regard,” Dr Osei said.

He however expressed worry that reforms in the sector over the years have yielded very little results owing to the lack of synergy among agencies under the Ministry of Education, stressing the need for stakeholders to work to address what he said was a disconnect which he said continues to create a challenge for the country’s educational sector.

Ministry

The Head of the ICT Unit at the Ministry of Education, Rev Anthony Baffoe in his remarks indicated that incorporating ICT competency into the licensure exams for the pre-service teachers is something they could do.

“Our expectation is that teachers will behave very basic knowledge in ICT to improve learning outcomes for pupils and we believe this workshop will provide the needed recommendations to help update the policy,” Rev Baffoe said.

The National Project Officer in charge for the K-FIT, Eric Balangtaa in his welcome remarks said that the project seeks to shape ICT in educational curricula and also support CENDLOS to build a robust digital platform for both teachers and learners assuring that K-FIT will continue to provide the needed support that will go to improve productivity in the educational sector.