MGCubed and Ghana: How to deliver high quality teaching using solar-powered technology and satellite-connected computers in rural classrooms
Mr Adam Still
GEMS Education Solutions
Primary school-age girls in sub-Saharan Africa face daily barriers which prevent them from learning: teachers are scarce and often absent; household labour keeps girls at home and early marriage or pregnancy means girls leave school. Choices and good role models in this region are limited.
Our distance learning project is an innovative pilot project that seeks to address these access and quality issues using an interactive distance learning delivery mechanism, never previously trialled in sub-Saharan Africa.
The distance learning technology infrastructure places all teaching responsibilities into the hands of our six master teachers. The pupil: teacher ratio of 1000:1 allows quality lessons to reach a far wider audience than would traditionally be achievable. Bespoke digital content supplements the teachers’ expertise to deliver a rich, student-centred, activity-based curriculum to around 5,000 pupils per year. Since this is the first distance learning pilot of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, we have developed our own pedagogy and teacher training programme to ensure learning outcomes via satellite delivery are greater than those currently achieved face-to-face.
To our knowledge, no robust evaluation of a synchronous, interactive, distance learning model within sub-Saharan Africa yet exists. This means policymakers are unable to make an informed decision about whether or not to invest in further distance learning initiatives, where the model is most effective or how this model compares against alternative educational interventions. This project will provide an important, first-of-its-kind evaluation of the potential pros and cons of distance learning in terms of operational feasibility, cost benefit and learning outcomes actually achieved.
The project’s distance learning model is highly replicable; indeed a chief reason for the pilot is to demonstrate, de-risk and accelerate the operational replicability within other parts of the region, and in the longer term, within other sub-Saharan African countries.
Our presentation will:
- Raise awareness of this new and innovative mobile learning solution
- Share best practice of distance learning pedagogy, based on our experience in the region
- Highlight the new demands on teachers’ skills and training programmes from first-hand experience
- Identify opportunities for collaboration between other distance learning practitioners
- Provide policy makers with insight into the positive impact technology, mobile communication and distance learning can have on increasing learning outcomes, particularly in remote communities
Adam Still specialises in education finance and economics and is leading the development of new private-school models for the United Kingdom. Adam played an integral role in the design and mobilisation of MGCubed, leading on education and financial budgeting. Adam joined GEMS from Ernst & Young and is a graduate of the Teach First programme, having taught mathematics in a West London secondary school.
GEMS Education Solutions works with public and private clients to transform the quality of global education and skills provision. We are the specialist education consultancy division of GEMS Education, and our services are built on the educational heritage that GEMS has developed over the last 50 years.
Building on this foundation, we use our experience, expertise and insight to deliver services for leadership and management, school improvement, skills provision and education reform.
We combine a deep and broad understanding of the education, training and workforce development sectors with a high calibre globally mobile team – to deliver education transformation that benefits children, young people and adults all over the globe. We have offices in the UK, US, the Middle East, East Asia and Africa.
Our experience includes the design of new PPP approaches in the Philippines, connecting non-state education innovations in East Africa through the Centre for Education Innovations hub, introducing new approaches to blended learning, advising on the reform of nation skills strategies in the United Arab Emirates, capacity building for skills in India, supporting free schools in the United Kingdom and running turnaround programmes for troubled schools in the United States.