The Ministry of Education has started the implementation of virtual learning programmes to enable students have access to learning resources while at home in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, said the learning programmes would be rolled out on all mediums — radio, television and online — with support from the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Information.
He explained that the decision to deploy the learning on multiple platforms was to ensure that no student was disadvantaged because of the inaccessibility to access a particular platform at a particular location.
“We hope that through the Ministry of Communications, we can get all telecommunication companies to zero-rate content delivery in education so that Ghanaian students will participate.
“We also hope that through the Ministry of Information, radio and television stations will see the national urgency in participating to ensure that educational content is delivered” Dr Prempeh stated when he took his turn to brief the media on what the ministry was doing in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The minister was happy that Vodafone Ghana was already zero-rating educational materials, “meaning that if you hook onto an educational space on that data, it is virtually for free.”
In addition, he said, some television stations had 24-hour channels that they could dedicate to the ministry for content delivery and was looking forward to seeing the other ones doing same.
“We need more free to air broadcast so that everybody, everywhere in the country can access once they have television,” the minister stated.
Dr Prempeh gave an assurance that the ministry, together with the other collaborating ministries, was committed to collaborating with radio stations in providing content broadcast to all levels of students, from KG to SHS.
Giving a background, Dr Prempeh explained that following the shutdown of schools on the directive of the President, the ministry was tasked with rolling out online programmes and distance learning in collaborations with the Ministry of Communication.
Consequently, a team was constituted comprising the Ministry of Education, the National Council for Tertiary Education, the University of Ghana, the University of Education, Winneba the Ghana Education Service , the Centre for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling (CENDLOS), the Ghana Library Authority and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment to come up with the solutions in the short, medium and long terms.
Dr Prempeh explained that the team was also to ensure that whatever content that would be developed “every learner in Ghana can participate.”
He added: “the team was also tasked to bring out solutions, as well as conceptualise effective and feasible solutions for the short, medium and long terms. They were to explore and ensure its appropriate content and resources for both pre-tertiary and tertiary institutions,” he explained.
He said the appropriateness of the content was very relevant because there were lots of content on open education resources available that might not be appropriate, “and so we needed to guide and guard what we broadcast to Ghanaian students.”
Availability of content
Dr Prempeh gave an assurance that when the programme was finally rolled out, the periods for the broadcast would be made known for pupils from KG up to those in senior high school.
He announced that CENDLOS had developed an online programme on all the core contents in the senior high school curriculum and had given every student a password and access to an iCampus.
“Currently, all SHS and TVET students (approximately 1.2 million students) are on the iCAMPUS system (www.icampusgh.com). The resources on the system include 810 notes with exercises, 20,800 interactive quizzes, 600 audio-visual lessons, 540 units interactive lessons , virtual laboratory practicals and simulations and over 3,000 sets of notes and audio-visual Open Educational Resource (OER) materials,” Dr Prempeh disclosed.