… as part of their Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
Education, whether formal or informal, is crucial to the development of any country. The major conduit for education is teachers. It is therefore fair to conclude that teachers play an influential role in the development of any country. Teachers must therefore be held in high regard and their professional development made paramount by national leaders.
This is one major reason the National Teaching Council (NTC), an agency of the Ministry of Education, has been mandated by the Education Regulation Bodies Act, 2020 (Act 1023) to promote teacher professionalism in Ghana. They do this through diverse means, among which is Continuous Professional Development (CPD). NTC, having recognized partnerships as an effective tool for a wider reach across the country, decided to work together with Service Providers (SPs) who have similar objectives of improving teacher professionalism in Ghana. The NTC also regulates the activities of these SPs to ensure that they do not exploit the teachers.
The Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana (IIPGH) is a professional association accredited by the NTC as a service provider to conduct CPD programs for staff of Ghana Education Service (GES). The Institute, recognizing the importance of basic ICT skills for teachers in the delivery of their materials, successfully organized their second CPD workshop dubbed “Introduction to Basic Digital Skills” in the Ho West and Adaklu Districts, Volta Region from 1st to 4th November 2022. Because of the numbers expected, the workshop was delivered in 5 cohorts.
Awudome Senior High School & Abutia Senior High Technical School – Training Centre
The workshop began at the Awudome SHS and Abutia SHTS on Tuesday 1st November 2022. The officers present at the Awudome SHS included Mr. David Aidam Kordjo – Ho West District Training Officer; Mr. Peter Nambia – Assistant Headmaster of Awudome Senior High School, representing the School’s Headmaster; and Mr. Francis Yaw Agbemadi – the Ho West District Education Director. The IIPGH team included Mrs. Gifty Mottey – the Director of Administration of the Institute; Mr. Emmanuel Darko—facilitator and ICT Coordinator for GES; Miss Deborah Ofori-Dartey—Digital Skills Training Supervisor, IIPGH; and Mr. Desmond Kitsi—Founder and Executive Director of Genius I.T. Brainery, Ho.
Mr. Nambia spoke briefly about the history of the school and the courses currently being offered. The district training officer then introduced the director of the district to the participants, who highlighted the various areas to be covered in the workshop and reiterated the importance of Continuous Staff Development. The Director expressed confidence in the capabilities of the Institute and formally declared the workshop open. Mr. Agbemadi sat in throughout and fully participated in the workshop. Mrs. Gifty Mottey spoke briefly about the Institute and Mr. Emmanuel Darko continued by showing them how to connect their laptops to the internet using their phones as hotspots and how to access and navigate the NTC portal (password reset, verification of credentials, etc..). Mr. Desmond Kitsi facilitated the workshop and helped the teachers create tables in Microsoft Word to be used in presenting data, such as attendance and school timetable. All the teachers used either their own laptops supplied by the government or supplementary laptops brought in by the service provider, IIPGH. Some issues faced by teachers in relation to their points were addressed and those that were not resolved during the workshop were noted down to be attended to after the workshop. This session began at 10:30 am and ended at 3:30 pm.
The 2nd cohort had their workshop at Abutia Senior High Technical School. Mr. Owusu Mordzifa, a training officer in the district, oversaw the center. He spoke on the importance of the workshop and highlighted the topics to be covered, including the resolution of their NTC portal issues. The IIPGH team included Mr. David Gowu – The Executive Director of the Institute; Mr. Michael Obiri-Agyare – facilitator and Municipal IT Support Officer for the Ledzokuku Municipal Education Office; Mr. Bright Botchway – Tanyigbe SHS ICT Instructor; and Miss. Barbara Asiamah – Digital Skills Supervisor and facilitator, IIPGH. Mr. Gowu outlined the activities of the institute, the importance of ICT, and why teachers must take part in such workshops and acquire skills on the topics to be covered. He showed them how to connect a laptop to the internet using their smartphones and how to use Microsoft Word for their teaching activities. Mr. Obiri-Agyare facilitated the training on the portal, showing them how to access and navigate the portal.
Kpedze Senior High School & Avatime Senior High School Training Centres
The workshop for Ho West continued on the second day, 2nd November 2022, at Kpedze Senior High School and Avatime Senior High School. The same content as the previous day was used. Present on this day was the District Education Director, who encouraged the teachers to give their full attention to the workshop. The workshop began at 10:00 am and ended at 2:00 pm. This concluded the training for Ho West and Three Hundred and Seventeen (317) teaching and non-teaching staff of GES in the district attended.
IIPGH Donates Desktop Computers to Support GES Directorate and Students
As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to support stakeholders, the IIPGH team donated four (4) computers to the Volta Regional Education Directorate to aid in the smooth running of their activities. IIPGH later in the day donated ten (10) computers to the Ho-Dome RC Primary/JHS school complex to help the students with practical digital skills such as coding. Both parties appreciated the donations and promised to use them for their intended purpose while maintaining them well. Management of the institutions also seized the opportunity to request more devices, like printers, scanners, etc. to improve the adoption of ICT in the region.
Abuadi/Tsrefe Senior High School Centre
The final workshop was held at the Abuadi/Tsrefe (Gbekor) Senior High School in the Adaklu District on Friday 4th November 2022. The workshop began at 10:30 am and ended at 2:30 pm. Turnout at this center, which was the only center for the district, was very low. Most teachers who registered to attend the workshop did not turn up, with only forty (40) teachers in attendance. Although the internet connectivity from the major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) was very poor, the tutors had practical lessons in Microsoft word.
It will be fair to argue that the use of productivity tools should be a basic skill required of teachers before they are even employed. Yet, some challenges identified were the lack of this skill among most of the teachers. Most of them had no knowledge of how to connect their laptops to the internet. As a result, the Government of Ghana, in partnership with various teacher institutions like the GES and the NTC, brings out strategies to close this skill gap. Some of these strategies include:
- Provision of laptops to teachers across the country
- Licensing and registering of teachers
- Keeping an up-to-date database of teachers
- Developing and periodically reviewing professional standards and code of ethics
- Conducting teacher Licensure Examination
- Provision of a framework for the Continuous Professional Development of teachers
The Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) believes that ICT is a skill every teacher must have, which is why this curriculum was developed and will be administered across all regions in the country. If we will revolutionize the ICT ecosystem in Ghana, introducing children to coding will not be enough, as these children spend most of their time in the hands of these teachers and are likely to be more influenced by them. The Institute calls on private individuals, organizations, and various government agencies to support it in this transformative agenda.
Author: Deborah Ofori-Dartey – Digital Skills Training Supervisor, Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana (IIPGH)
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