Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia last Friday launched the government’s ‘One Teacher One Laptop’ programme, and handed over 350,000 laptops to the Ghana Education Service, in fulfilment of government’s pledge to equip teachers with the requisite ICT skills to prepare the next generation for the fourth industrial revolution.
The launch took place at the campus of St Mary’s Senior High School where Dr Bawumia, assisted by the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Director General of the Ghana Education Service, Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, and the leadership of teacher unions, handed over the first of the laptops, known as the TM1 (Teachers Mate 1), to the 71 teachers of the school.
“Effective teaching and learning is critical to developing the human capacity for work, innovation and creativity, necessary ingredients for capacity building. Teachers are the indispensable pillars to this necessary capacity building. This initiative, in collaboration with the Teacher Unions, is to support the vision of the Ghana Education Service of creating an enabling environment to facilitate effective teaching and learning,” Dr Bawumia stated.
Under the initiative, Government is to provide every teacher in Ghana, from Kindergarten to the Senior High School level, with a laptop preloaded with educational materials and with access to an E-Library equipped with books recommended by the GES on the various subjects. The materials can be accessed whether online or offline, and with free Wi-Fi available in 722 Senior High Schools across the country, access to the almost innumerable resources available on the internet is expected to aid research, teaching and learning.
The state would take up 70 percent of the cost of the laptop, while the teacher makes up the difference. The laptop, however, becomes the personal property of the teacher, and serves the benefit of providing a tool for developing the teacher’s professional and personal capacity.
The shift to ICT-based teaching and learning has many benefits for both teachers and students, according to experts in education. With the curriculum materials already installed onto the laptops, the suggested lesson notes prepared by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) can be downloaded onto the laptops and used to end the burdensome task of writing lesson notes into notebooks.
This would perfectly be in tandem with the fifth skill and competence under the new standards-based curriculum, the promotion of digital literacy.
The laptops would also help in the field of assessment. The filling of School-Based Assessment, report cards, cumulative records, and the building of learners’ individual portfolios would become easier if each teacher owns a laptop.