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Teachers visit schools in Ghana

posted 19 Mar 2018, 12:18 by Tim Williams
The education of children in Ghana is set to improve with a vital new link-up to London. A group of teachers from Edmonton, Enfield and Haringey recently spent time in schools in Ghana as part of the Connecting Classrooms education programme.
Connecting Classrooms is run in more than 30 countries by the British Council in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID). The programme enables teachers not only to teach 21st century core skills to children in their classroom, but also to visit partner schools in other countries to exchange insights and ideas on how to improve teaching and learning in their schools. 

The trip, co-ordinated by Ann Palmer, principal of Nightingale Academy, in Edmonton, was attended by representatives of Aylward Academy and Meridian Angel Primary School, in Enfield, and Noel Park and Trinity primaries, in Haringey. During their stay in Accra, the UK teachers were partnered up with five schools where they spent two days getting to know the education system.
Ms Palmer, who took Nightingale teacher Jenet Gwaki on the trip, said: “Our hosts and the students in Ghana were extremely welcoming. The children love going to school and the quality of the work we saw and how they presented themselves was fabulous. “It was about connecting one type of education system with another, but also appreciating there is strength in a variety of systems. “Before we returned home, we gathered together with the heads and went through actions we are going to use back in our own countries, as well as looking at other ways to support them.” A focus was put on improving teaching and learning, with the traditional way of teaching in Ghana – with children in rows and a teacher in front of a board – shaken up when the UK teachers took classes and encouraged group working and students presenting to their peers.
Ms Palmer is now keen for Nightingale to work with its partner school - Madina Junior High School - to improve their environment with a long-term link-up. One idea is to fundraise to complete a building which has been under construction for eight years, so it can be used as an IT suite.

Ms Palmer said: “The schools in Ghana have very little. The things we take for granted, such as pens and pencils, printed posters on the walls and IT, they simply do not have. Most British schools would see IT having a life cycle of about five years, but in Ghana that equipment would still very much be seen as useful. We saw IT being taught in theory, without a single piece of IT to show students. If there is some way we can set them up with our old equipment, our direct links to them can continue into the future with video conferencing.
“We need to always be aware of how privileged our students are, particularly to have free education.”