Private school teachers lament the government’s laptop policy which has sidelined them as efforts to digitize education continue in the country.
Private school exclusion from government’s laptop policy
Teachers in private schools have lamented their exclusion from the government’s “one teacher, one laptop” initiative.
According to them, governments over the years had not made teachers from private schools part of policy interventions that sought to enhance the capabilities of teachers and also improve teaching and learning.
The teachers raised the concerns at the 6th Edify Leadership Institute Conference in Accra on Wednesday, October 20, 2021.
The Edify Leadership Institute is an annual event that creates a platform for training and capacity building for teachers in private schools, school administrators and school owners.
It was on the theme: “Innovations in Education: What works, What doesn’t, What next?”
Participants at the event included teachers, policy makers in education, as well as people drawn from educational regulatory bodies such as the National Teaching Council (NTC), the National
Schools Inspectorate Authority (NaSIA) and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA).
Responding to the concerns of the teachers, a Deputy Minister of Education, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour, said the government had no intention of excluding any teacher from any policy intervention.
He also said the government recognised the significant role private schools played in the educational system of the country and would, therefore, continue to support them.
Rev. Fordjour, however, explained that due to resource constraints, the government decided to commence the “one laptop, one teacher” initiative from public schools, and expanded it further as and when resources became available.
“The real challenge of this country in respect of education is not so much of the private sector, but rather the public sector. That is why many notions had been held that people preferred to send their children to private schools,” he said.
“One teacher, one laptop”
The “One Teacher, One Laptop” initiative launched by Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in September this year, seeks to equip teachers with the requisite ICT skills to facilitate lesson planning, teaching and learning outcomes.
Under the initiative, every teacher in a public school — from kindergarten (KG) to senior high — would receive a laptop computer.
The government will pay 70 per cent of the cost of the laptop, with the teachers paying the rest, which will be deducted from their salaries monthly.
The laptops are manufactured locally by ICT firm — KA Technologies Ghana Limited.
Other concerns raised by the teachers included the lack of adequate engagement of private school teachers on the new educational curriculum.
Rev. Fordjour said the NaCCA would fully address the concerns of the private school teachers on the new curriculum.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to transforming education, with specific attention to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
According to him , 20 STEM schools were under construction throughout the country, with 11 to be completed next year.
STEM education, as well as other policy interventions, he said, would enable the country to move away from rote learning to analytical and problem-solving learning.
Edify is a not for profit non-governmental organisation (NGO) that supports low-fee paying private schools all over the world.
The Country Director of Edify, Mr Godwin Fiagbor, explained that his outfit provided training, educational technology and financing to schools.
“Low-fee private schools are very vulnerable and, therefore, we support them. Currently, we work with 970 low- fee private schools in Ghana. We hope to extend our partnership to 1,500 schools by September next year,” he said
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