, 21 March, 2020 / 3:43 AM
In a bid to ensure that junior and senior high school students do not stay idle at home in the wake of the closure of schools in Ghana, an e-learning platform has been rolled out to facilitate remote teaching and learning of students in the West African country.
This follows the March 15 directive by President Nana Akufo-Addo, tasking his country’s Education and Communication Ministries to roll out distance learning protocols for the schools after announcing the closure of all educational institutions, both public and private, starting from Monday, March 16.
The President made the directive in a televised address to about 30 million Ghanaians.
As part of the e-learning initiative, the students will have the opportunity to take prescribed subjects by the Ghana Education Service including Mathematics, English, Science Social Studies and French for free in the safety of their homes.
This opportunity is a joint effort of Vivo Energy Ghana, the African Business Centre for Developing Education (ABCDE) and eCampus Ghana, according to Mr. Clifford Tetteh, the National Co-ordinator of ABCDE.
In an interview with Ghana’s News Agency in Accra Wednesday, March 18, Mr. Tetteh explained that the platform had been designed in an interactive manner to test students against various benchmarks and obtain instant results as well as to serve as guidance for self-improvement.
He said for a student to get connected, they would need to download the eCampus Application at http://eCampus.com.gh, sign up with referral code VIVOABCDE and then search for SHS and subscribe.
Mr. Tetteh said the move was also part of the efforts to promote Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics among students, especially females to train many in those fields. He said the application contains the syllabus being used in schools and served as a very useful tool in ensuring that the process of learning was not interrupted while at home.
In a conversation with ACI Africa correspondent about the initiative and its benefits to students in Catholic Schools, the General Manager of Catholic Schools in Ghana, Doris Ashun encouraged students to take advantage of the e-learning platform to undertake further studies on the portal during their time away from school.
“I urge all students of Catholic Schools, especially those at home, to fill the knowledge gap during this time,” Mrs. Ashun said, calling on parents and guardians to ensure their children adhere to precautionary measures by the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Health.
Ebenezer Hasford, a form three Basic School pupil of St. John’s Preparatory School, a private institution at New Achimota in Accra told ACI Africa correspondent that the ABCDE platform was a welcome idea for students who could now engage in meaningful activities even as schools closed down.
“I am happy that there is an initiative by an organisation to help us learn while at home,” Hasford said, adding, “It is a positive way to support students remain engaged in meaningful learning outside of the classroom.”
Following Ghana President’s directive, the management of the Ghana Institute of Journalism in support of the government’s advice to venture into novel teaching methods has also tasked its academic staff to try online teaching for one month.
A communique of the institution’s management reads, “This new development of one-month online teaching and learning takes effect on March 17, 2020. The decision of the institutions for academic staff to try online teaching and learning is in line with the suspension of public gatherings and closure of schools.”
Lessons at the institute are to be conducted via email, WhatsApp, Telegram, google classroom and other digital platforms.
Meanwhile, Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) candidates in Ghana have been allowed to attend school to prepare for their examinations with the observance of the prescribed social distancing protocols.
The 2020 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) is expected to begin on June 15 and end June 19, while the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates is to commence on March 30 and end on June 12.
All the initiatives to ensure digital interaction of students with their teachers in Ghana notwithstanding, some people have expressed their dissatisfaction on the practicality of the e-learning system.
The President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Angel Carbonu has hinted that most teachers in the West African country will find it difficult to conduct online education due to their 'illiteracy' in Information Technology (IT).
“Most teachers lack the requisite knowledge in the field of IT to use the online platforms to teach,” Mr. Carbonu told ACI Africa correspondent, adding, “I can assure you that a lot of teachers will be challenged in the use of IT in teaching in this country. It is about time teachers took this mode of teaching seriously.”
According to the education official, television stations in the country need to get programmes that can educate the children at home.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa