H. E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his address to the nation on enhanced measures being taken to prevent the spread of the novice Coronavirus (COVID-19), issued out directives that saw the closure of all Universities, SHS, Basic Schools (both public and private) beginning on Monday 16th, March, 2020 until further notice.
The Ministry of Education was charged with rolling out online programs and distance learning in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication. In line with this, the Ministry undertook a number of actions, which included the setting up of a team to come up with the solutions to cater for the short, medium and long-terms. The team comprised of the following: Ministry of Education, National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), University of Ghana (UoG), University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Ghana Education Service (GES), Centre for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling (CENDLOS), Ghana Library Authority (GhLA), and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA).
The Team was tasked to do the following: Explore possible solution by considering existing infrastructure as well as conceptualizing effective and feasible solutions for the short-term, mid-term and long-term. And also to explore and ensure age-appropriate CONTENT and RESOURCES for Pre-Tertiary, KG, Primary (Lower and Upper Primary), Junior High School (JHS), Senior High School (SHS/TVET), Tertiary (Universities & University Colleges of Education). The Team was also to ‘ensure ACCESS for all by providing multiple platforms for content delivery as well as ‘Explore COLLABORATIONS including with non-state actors’.
Following this, the Ghana Education Service (GES), in the immediate to short term, working with the Center for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling (CENDLOS) has fully launched the iCampus Ghana (www.icampusgh.com) and has provided access to the educational content for the core subject areas for all SHS students. To date, all SHS students (approximately 1.2 million), have been registered on the system to allow them to do online and self-guided learning. Additionally, learners also have access to the Ghana Library App which provided additional approved educational content and resources to improve reading online.
Through the collaboration and intervention of the Ministry of Communications, two of Ghana’s telecommunications companies, Vodafone and MTN, has zero rated these online learning platforms including content from approved educational sites. This has made it easy for learners with access to smart devices to continue learning online even when they have no data on their phones.
The Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service has further secured and entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) to use television as a means to deliver content. The agreement saw the establishment of the Ghana Learning TV which began broadcasting educational content from April 3rd, 2020 in the core subject areas. It resulted in a 24-hour dedicated channel that is simultaneously being carried on the GBC DTT platform and the National DTT platform as a Free-to-Air Broadcast.
This channel is available nationwide and is also being carried on satellite platforms including MultiChoice, which is carrying it on DStv Channel 315 and on GOtv Channel 150. The Ghana Learning TV is also being carried on StarTimes Channel 312.
Currently, the GES is working closely with the Ghana Library Authority to establish an online learning platform to cover Primary and Junior High School students and provide opportunity for the learner resources available through Ghana Library Authority to also be available to all learners. Television content for KG, Primary aligned to the new curriculum as well as content for Junior High School is being produced in collaboration with Plan International and is expected to be rolled out on television by the first week in May.
The Ministry of Education and the GES is collaborating with Development Partners to produce radio content that is aligned to the curriculum for broadcast through efforts by the GBC to secure radio transmission to all regions of the country.
In furtherance, the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) directive to all public universities to assess their online teaching and learning facilities has resulted in their deployment thereby ensuring continuity of teaching and learning.
More importantly, all the traditional universities have indicated that they have functional Learning Management Systems (LMS) which they only need to upscale in order to make the service available to all students. These are University of Ghana (UoG); University of Professional Studies (UPSA); University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS); University of Cape Coast (UCC); Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA); University of Mines and Technology (UMaT); University of Education, Winneba (UEW); Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST); University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR); and the University for Development Studies.
In the Medium to long-term, it is expected that the National Digital Literacy Project will provide devices for both teachers and learners and improve digital literacy skills. Also, the establishment of a robust Learning Management System, that is supported by the setting up of a Ghana National Knowledge and Skills Bank to provide integrated content mapped to the Ghana curriculum and allows learners access to curated educational content online is being worked on.
The Ministry of Education is also promoting the localization of the technology and equipment for the deployment of the Open University in Ghana.