Twenty-seven public Colleges of Education (CoE) in Ghana will benefit from e-learning made possible through the Mastercard Foundation and UK aid supporting the roll-out of connectivity solutions and the extension of Wi-Fi services to boost virtual teaching and learning.
The support will enable the CoEs to improve connectivity on their campuses through the installation of Broadband services as well as the upgrading of technology-assisted teaching and learning solutions to aid virtual lessons for teacher trainees across the country.
The e-learning support, part of the wider Mastercard Foundation and Mott MacDonald COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programs and UK aid Transforming Teacher Education & Learning (T-TEL) project, is aimed at extending teacher education through virtual learning. The initiative supports the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) led Colleges of Education e-learning Fund that was established in consultation with the Conference of Principals of Colleagues of Education (PRINCOF).
“Over the past semester, the NCTE noticed that poor Wi-Fi connectivity hampered the efforts of some Colleges of Education to deliver virtual lessons to students amidst the observation of social distancing measures put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This led to the decision to set up a process to identify CoEs with significant connectivity challenges and to develop appropriate solutions to enable them to continue training the teachers of tomorrow,” commented Professor Mohammed Salifu , Executive Secretary of the NCTE.
Following a call to action, 43 CoEs submitted applications for financial and technical support and after a thorough review process led by an Evaluation Committee, 27 applicants were selected and awarded a grant of GHS 20,000 each as well as technical assistance to deploy and extend Wi-Fi services on their campuses. The grant awardees were selected based on evidence that demonstrated i) a genuine need for investment in improved connectivity to enhance teaching and learning; and ii) demonstrable understanding of the technical and financial requirements and sustainability of the solutions proposed.
“At a time like this, enabling equitable access to education is critical to ensure that our teacher trainees receive the needed instructions, through virtual learning, to be better prepared to impact knowledge and build the capabilities of our young people so they can access dignified and fulfilling work,” commented Nathalie Gabala, Regional Head for Western, Central and Northern Africa at the Mastercard Foundation.
“Teachers are the backbone of the education system and for enabling all children to learn – whether they are in a school building or not. It is vital for Ghana’s student teachers to continue studying for their teaching degrees through virtual channels where necessary, and for connectivity barriers to be removed. This is especially important for students who are female, have disabilities, or are in remote areas,” commented Philip Smith, Development Director for the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in Ghana.
The NCTE is currently in the process of signing agreements and disbursing funding to the beneficiary Colleges of Education.
The National Council for Tertiary Education
The NCTE was established by an Act of Parliament (ACT 454) to oversee the proper administration of institutions designated as institutions of tertiary education in Ghana, to provide for the composition of the Council and provide for related matters.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management. For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org
About the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program
The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program has two main goals. First, to deliver emergency support for health workers, first responders, and students. Second, to strengthen the diverse institutions that are the first line of defence against the social and economic aftermath of this disease. These include universities, financial services providers, businesses, technology start-ups, incubators, government agencies, youth organizations, and non-governmental organizations.
About UK aid and T-TEL
Transforming Teacher Education & Learning (T-TEL) is a six-year (2014-2020) UKaid funded programme to ensure Ghana's teaching graduates are equipped to deliver high-quality, inspirational teaching and learning in schools. Implemented by Mott MacDonald in partnership with NCTE, 5 universities and all 46 public Colleges of Education (CoEs), T-TEL is working to strengthen pre-service teacher education in Ghana and to support the implementation of the Bachelor in Education (B.Ed) degree. Since June 2020, T-TEL has been supporting virtual learning in CoEs with technical advice, staffing costs and digital devices for students with visual and hearing impairments funded by UKaid, and smartphones, SD cards and equipment for Wi-Fi connectivity provided by the Mastercard Foundation’s COVID-19 Recover and Resilience Program.
UK aid is managed through the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in Ghana. The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) merged on 2 September 2020.
National Council for Tertiary Education
The Mastercard Foundation
UK aid - Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Grace Wood, Education Adviser