GNACOPS “Classrooms without boundaries” project: The new phase of private school education in Ghana

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Education is primarily to equip the individual to explore, acquire and experiment with various competencies needed to solve simple to complex problems in the human society. It is therefore an avenue by which the individual becomes a meaningful entity to the social, cultural, economic, spiritual and emotional development in of a given society. we should not lose sight of the fact that Individuals are born with unique talents. Each of these talents is useful to the overall development of the society.


Unfortunately we always view intelligence as one unit. It is not uncommon to classify scientists and academics as brainy and for that matter, intelligent people. Interestingly, if we should ask these people to perform other simple tasks apart from what they have learned to do, they may be found wanting.


There is a stereotyped views and misconceptions about people who are engaged in seemingly less tasking jobs to be classified as “unintelligent? Have you ever wondered how an artist can take an empty canvas and create a masterpiece with just a pencil, paint and brush or how a chef can turn ordinary looking ingredients in finger licking meals?. Sadly, our perception of intelligence is skewed. The society has for a long time prescribed what deemed as intelligent and what is not however, psychologist have made it known to us that everyone is blessed with multiple types intelligence. Different types of intelligence exist in different people’
some of these include: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic,
interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic and existential.


Education therefore helps the individual to not just unearth their natural talents to also to groom it as part of the tools needed to develop the society The question then is, What is school and its essence? Fundamentally, a school is an educational environment where children go to learn from a teacher however the main essence of a school is to prepare students for life by providing the student with the necessary skills to gain a career after graduation and become productive members of society. This can be done
only when the school provides a platform where the latent talent of the learner is seriously taken into consideration.


The education system and for that matter private school education in Ghana, has undergone a series of transformation from the pre-independence through the early post-independence to the present. Sadly, although in principle, there seem to be an equal avenue for the training of different talents, the case is not so in practice. Another case in point is the ability of the
learner to source for information from various channel instead of the information from just the narrow and pigeon-hold text books and the teacher.


It could be realised that most of the learners hinge their learners prowess on the ability to speak good English and the scores they make in their standardised examination. Most of them are very low in imagination, self-interrogation, reasoning and effective communicating of ideas. This occurs because their horizon is very narrow limited in exploration. Can we blame the child when all there is to aid learning is the blackboard/Marker board, the textbooks and the teacher? Certainly not.


The 21st Century School and classroom.


Education has always being social and market driven. The growing population are therefore to be trained in competences that are relevant for socio-cultural and economic development of the immediate and distant society. Today’s learner is therefore a global citizen who should be aware of what other people are doing, and the benefits they can derive from them. Again they should be thinking about how their ideas and conclusions drawn from their interactions with other people can be effectively communicated to the entire global society. to achieve this, the curriculum and other instructional materials, competencies of facilitators as well as
the idea of the school and classroom has to change to suit the demand of the global society.


Fortunately the current Standard-Based curriculum introduced by the Ministry of Education is rightly in line with the current idea of school and classroom. The hope is that teachers are able to use it effectively as a material for training the Ghanaian child
Need for an interconnected Network system.


There has been the much talked about ICT education in the instructional base of the learner. How does it become essential to learning and teach? As discussed earlier, learning in the 21st century has moved beyond the quadrangle of the classroom and the school. The idea of the classroom, and by extension the classroom has now become an interconnected network system with no physical barriers. There should be the avenue for the Ghanaian child, especially those in the private schools. We should note that computers, laptops, tablets, internet connectivity etc although are tools for learning can be classified as exceptional tools
that narrows the widened classroom into a borderless and timeless system. It also help to give a wide range of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary system of communicating ideas where the child can interact with any field of human endeavour irrespective of their peculiar interest and innate talent. Have we ever thought of how a musician can make relevance in the field of medicine? What about the artist in the automobile industry and the mechanical engineer in the entertainment industry? All these transdisciplinary abilities can be achievable if the child is given the type of classroom and school that is flexible in its training and has the right tools and materials for grooming talent.


GNACOPS Classrooms Without Boundaries project.


The Ghana National Council of Private School, an overarching internal regulation body for private school education in Ghana, as part of its programmes to situate the private education in Ghana at per with global standards has embark on a project to give both teacher and learners in the private schools the chance to savour the terrain of global and interconnected education. Dubbed Schools and Classrooms Without Boundaries project, it is supplying an initial Two hundred thousand (200,000) laptops and One million (1000,000) Tablets to teachers and learners respectively in the private schools across the country. In addition to this,
it has liaised with the appropriate service providers for the uninterrupted internet supply to schools across the country. By this, GNACOPS can ensure that within the near future almost every child, particularly those in the private schools, will make see learning not just as a classroom, teacher and textbook thing but a continues exercise of gathering information, ideating, drawing relevant conclusions and sharing the conclusion.


Conclusion


School should not be a place for acquiring just the ability to read and write or vain certificates. It should not be a place where people are trained to be unemployable. The children of today are without doubt the leaders of tomorrow as such the school should be a place to groom them into such fine leader we all aspire to see. Most developed countries, especially those who developed along the lines of global interconnected education, for example, India, China, the Emirati, Singapore, USA etc, did so along the lines of uninhibited classrooms equipped with learning tools as materials as well as assessment format that solicit
ideating and communicating reasoning.


The Ghanaian child has all the ability to aside training to groom their innate talent, generate relevant ideas needed for societal development in all fields of human endeavour. I am of the view that with the Classroom Without Borders project, GNACOPS will launch private school education in Ghana into its new phase where children can now use the relevant tools and materials ie. Computers, laptops, Tablets, internet connectivity etc to gather information, ideate by interrogating the information, draw viable conclusions geared towards societal development and effectively communicate these conclusions to the benefit of all.


By Dr. Mantey Jectey-Nyarko
KNUST-Kumasi
(National Director, Training and Research for GNACOPS)