Each pack contained the phone with a charger, earpiece, screen protector and back cover. It also comes with 1GB free data per month for 6 months on MTN or Vodafone.
The remaining 36 Colleges of Education will receive their SD-cards loaded with curriculum materials. Within the week while the Virtual Learning Taskforce team waits for the remaining phones to be cleared. By the supplier for onward distribution to these Colleges.
Following the closure of schools in March 2020 by the President of the Republic of Ghana. Due to the outbreak of the Novel COVID-19. The T-TEL programme under the leadership of Mr. Robin Todd, and in partnership with the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE). They set up a Taskforce as a support and advisory group for the rollout of Virtual Learning. In all the 46 public Colleges of Education in the Country.
Also, the Virtual Learning Taskforce led by Dr. Sam Awuku. Who doubles as T-TEL Key Adviser on Policy, Leadership, Institutional Development, and Communications. They had series of meetings with all major stakeholders associated with Colleges of Education.
Some of these stakeholders included the five mentoring universities thus; The University of Cape Coast, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. The University of Education, Winneba, University of Ghana and University for Development Studies. All Principals (PRINCOF), CETAG and CENTSAG National Executives, and TTAG National officers.
These meetings were very useful in identifying the needs of the Colleges. In supporting the Emergency Remote Teaching and Learning (ERTL). Also, a fundamental question that emerged during the meetings was. “How to ensure that no learner is excluded from the ERTL. Thus how to reach the unreachable?”.
Meanwhile, these hard-to-reach student teachers. According to the stakeholders were mainly faced with the challenge of not having an appropriate device. That will help to participate in the lesson and/or are out of internet coverage areas.
However, Working with TTAG, various options were discussed including; sending hard copies of learning materials to such students through agreeable means. One option that TTAG was unequivocal about was the request for the Colleges to support needy students with smartphones.
This, the Virtual Learning Taskforce saw as imperative and contingent to the success of the virtual learning. In pursuance to that, Colleges were asked to compile a list of students in need of the phones.
A couple of days after this meeting, MasterCard Foundation released a call as part of their COVID-19 response. T-TEL and NCTE worked with TTAG to develop the initial concept for the MasterCard call and eventually the proposal. MasterCard has since approved the proposal and signed the contract.
Importantly, the Virtual Learning Taskforce was very much aware that when it comes to technology use in education for learning. There already exists a huge divide between the haves and have-nots and COVID-19 has a huge potential to widen that gap.
The task force, therefore, resolved that proactivity is needed to interrupt this inequality. And re-envisioned the opportunities provided by the school closure. As a means of creating a more socially just platform for all student. And also teachers to continue to learn irrespective of their location and ability.
The MasterCard Foundation Support
On Tuesday, 9th June 2020 Mott MacDonald Ltd signed a contract with the Mastercard Foundation to the value of $719,250 to enable T-TEL to work in partnership with NCTE to ensure that as many students teachers as possible can benefit from virtual learning conducted by Colleges of Education.
Finally, $20,000 will also be available to conduct a communications campaign that will focus on building awareness and support amongst groups such as student teachers and parents where opposition or lack of accurate knowledge could inhibit virtual learning efforts.
Source: Manuelnewsgh//News Desk, Colleges of Education Weekly Journal.