Covid-19: GNAT calls for more innovation to teaching and learning

Thomas Musah is GNAT's General Secretary
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General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) Thomas Musah has stressed on the need for stakeholders to continuously devise innovative ways of giving access to quality education irrespective of the prevailing circumstances especially in times of emergencies and pandemics.

“Covid-19 has seriously exposed us in so many ways. If Covid had not hit us, some of the things we were doing, we never would have been doing them. Things like Zoom meetings and online engagements. And one critical area is how we have been exposed with regards to access to education. The key thing here is what we can do in terms of emergencies or pandemics particularly when it comes to education.

“…because education cannot wait in times of emergencies as the consequences of a long break in teaching and learning would be dire.”

He further explained: “If you look at the work that the Ghana Statistical Services did in 2020, the analysis show that children who are four years old are over 600,000. Now, if you make the mistake and say let’s wait small and close schools down for about two or three years because there is an emergency or pandemic and so the children should stay home, by the time schools reopen, the children would be about 7 years and that will be the end. You will not get them again. Some of them will be lost to child labour and other areas. And it will be disastrous to have such a huge number of the children being lost”.

The General Secretary was speaking to Connect FM on the sidelines of a three-day hybrid Emergency Remote Teaching training for selected Junior and Senior High school teachers in the Western Region.

In partnership with the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Center for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling (CENDLOS), UNESCO through the Korean government is supporting 51 Junior and Senior High School teachers to acquire digital skills in remote teaching to prepare them for future shocks and disruptions to teaching and learning.

Mr. Musah noted that it is imperative that efforts to prepare teachers for future shocks and disruptions to teaching and learning be stepped up.

“… that irrespective of the time, irrespective of the situation, irrespective of the condition or period we find ourselves in, the child should still be able to have access to not just any education but quality education. Because we are getting to a stage where we need to get some kind of arrangement where it will be possible to teach and learn without any disruption no matter what or we risk losing the human resource to shape and guide our development agenda.”

Earlier, Director of CENDLOS Gyamfi Adwumbour encouraged teachers to embrace online teaching and learning to ensure continuity of learning beyond Covid-19 disruptions.

UNESCO Representative to Ghana Abdourahamane Diallo also underscored the need for teachers in Ghana to acquire digital skills to improve learning outcomes thereby contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.

“This training is going to help me a lot especially in integrating ICT in content delivery. This training is not only about Covid but even after Covid, we can actually create sites for our schools. We have been introduced to a site that is free, so schools that do not have funding are privileged to create their own site,” a participant said.

Another participant lamented: “In Ghana data is expensive. This training though very good comes with some challenges. We have to get laptop, good mobile phone and data. So, we plead that when we go back and start implementing what we have been taught government will help in providing data for us to deliver well”.

By Eric Yaw Adjei|Connect FM|3news.com|Ghana