President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Angel Carbonu has indicated that the e-learning platform introduced by government is not working due to technological challenges teachers and children are facing.
According to him, teachers and students have never been introduced to the idea of virtual learning, as such, the sudden switch is posing a great challenge to them since most people have little to no knowledge about ICT hence find it difficult to conduct online classes.
Speaking on the transformations within Ghana’s education due to the coronavirus outbreak, Angel Carbonu said the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has exposed how the country has not taken ICT and technology, a situation all too evident in Ghana’s educational system.
The NAGRAT President in an interview monitored by ABC News said the online classes are a real struggle to them because of ‘illiteracy’ in ICT, connectivity and reach of technology in certain parts of the country.
According to him, even those in the urban areas are having difficulties accessing the online platforms due to little knowledge in ICT, bemoaning how those in the rural areas are being affected.
Describing the situation as unfortunate, the NAGRAT President advised government to go beyond the talk and find lasting solutions that will bring technology closer to the doorsteps of people.
He charged government to create other avenues that will make teachers use technology in the transmission of lessons after the pandemic is fully dealt with.
“Unfortunately, as a nation, we have not taken IT very seriously. We’ve not taken technology very seriously and COVID-19 is really exposing us big time. You see officials attending speech and prize giving days, ceremonies all over the years, it counts to the importance and relevance of all IT but we’ve not gone beyond the flowery talk and we have been stripped naked,” he stated.
He continued, “As teachers, we are in a very confused state because a few teachers within urban areas are trying as much as we can to reach their students through technology but I can assure you that even the technological coverage even in the urban is very very challenging, let alone the rural and the hinterlands of our country. The fact of the matter is that all over the years we have not established the infrastructural foundation to ensure that technology is used in the transmission of lessons.”
Speaking on the issue of the technological gap, Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum concurred with the NAGRAT President’s remarks saying government is aware of the challenges and is working to ensure every student benefits from the e-learning classes.
According to him, he has realised it’s not only about building ICT centres in cities or rural areas but rather making every home have access to technological devices.
“When it comes to ICT, we focus on it in terms of the digital divide; community. Can we build a lab here? Can we give computers to schools?…when the pandemic hits, how do you open that computer lab? So it’s not like the government hasn’t done anything but the communal approach, the school approach of giving out computers does not help fight this issue.”
“Now we’re talking about households and can households get the devices they need for themselves? So if an emergency like this arrives, then the households are equipped and that is how you bridge the digital divide between the poor and the rich. And the poor kid can also access it at home like the rich kid,” he said.