We are on a “field trip” towards the Western region of Ghana. It is a long ride, 7 hours on a minivan one way. We stay there for 2 nights and then head back to Accra. Our intent is to talk to teachers who have been educated by the iTeach program of the Dreamoval foundation in the last years. Have they been able to pass on their newly gained knowledge about IT? At least to their colleagues, maybe even to their pupils? Remember: Only 360 out of 170,000 thousand teachers have been reached by iTeach so far. So a well working multiplier structure is key. Otherwise it will simply not work out.
Close to the boarder of Ivory Coast we met a group of those teachers who shared their experience. They were all thrilled by the training they received and praised the advantage it brought to them. Excel for example is simply great for them to calculate the results of their pupils. As single class has on average 40-50 kids (sometimes even up to 80), this rating work usually consumes a lot of time. With excel knowledge this is so much easier to be accomplished.
Challenges they shared with us are: lack of computers – only a minority of teachers own one. Not even half of them have a smartphone or any other mean to access internet privately. In some schools they even do not have electricity. But they are really engaged, they find different way to overcome challenges. Sometimes at least the headmaster of the school has a laptop, and if teachers are lucky, they are open to help and make their laptop available for training purposes. One teacher told that he has a desktop PC at home and then regularly on Fridays invite 5-6 pupils to his house to train them for an hour after school. As there is almost nowhere a projector available they have to take turns with the pupils – a very time consuming approach. A female teacher told us that there is an Internet Café near to her school, and she takes pupils there. For those who can´t afford the small fee she even helps out. What an engagement level! Surely not all teacher in Ghana are like that, but we really met a few true role models.
I attach one picture of our discussion with the teachers. The other one shows a school we did visit. The level of discipline there was amazing! The pupils stood up when we entered the room, they greeted us all in a choir, they were quiet and very attentive. I don´t think too long about with which education means this level of discipline is reached… Anyway, what I really need to tell my two kids when I am back: The class was shouting in excitement when it was announced that as part of our visit all of them will receive a frozen joghurt! The cost is at 1 CEDI each, which equals some 20-25 Eurocent. They surely don´t get it every day.