Thursday, 19 September 2013

Savelugu-Nanton District Coordinator Ibrahim “Kung Fu” Issahaku drags his motorbike out of the mud on the road to the Sana community.  Despite the challenges of travel in the rainy season, over the coming weeks Kung Fu will visit around 1000 children across the district to find out if they were able to enrol in former schools following the nine month School for Life Programme.  

Monday, 16 September 2013

School for Life Receives a “Northern Business Excellence Award’’

By Muniru A. Rahaman
17th August 2013
SfL was given an award as one of the Organisations which are contributing to the development of Ghana and Northern Ghana in particular in various areas of endeavour. The citation on the award recognises SfL for it’s “...commitment and Dedication to improving access to Quality Basic Education in Ghana”.

The awards ceremony was organised by Ridmut Consult in collaboration with Savana Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Northern Regional Coordinating Council, the Northern Development Forum (NDF) and other industry partners. This program was designed to honour private, public and non-profit sectors including individuals for their contributions towards the development of Northern Ghana.  A day prior to the awards ceremony, the PM was invited by the same organisation to make a presentation at a young Entrepreneurs Development Seminars. There were other presenters at the seminar. The PM’s presentation was entitled “Contribution of School for Life to Growing the Youth”.

The award to SfL was received by the Programme Manager. The Picture of the presentation is seen below. 

Top Left: Programme Manager (S. O. Saaka) receiving the Award.

Top Right: A picture of the Award.

School for Life offers CBE Certificate to kids in Savelugu-Nanton District

Check out our news article on 107.1 Kesmi FM:

School for Life offers CBE Certificate to kids in Savelugu-Nanton District

EQUIP-ing Schools for Quality Education

By Courtney Irwin

22nd April 2012

UK based charity Tzedek has joined with School for Life to develop a new program aimed at improving the quality of education in Northern Ghana.

Tzedek is the Jewish community’s international development charity.  Having worked in Northern Ghana for a number of years, the organisation has sought to deepen their ties with the region, and to develop innovative solutions aimed at eliminating poverty in the country.

EQUIP is a recent program developed in collaboration with School for Life (SfL).  The project aims to improve the quality of education in schools in Northern Ghana through training of education stakeholders in child centred methodologies, and through the provision of teaching and learning materials including classroom charts, flash cards, and textbooks. 

The program was devised in response to an extensive year long investigation into the causes of poverty in Northern Ghana, which identified quality education as a major barrier to improvements in the country.  School for Life became involved in the initiative when Tzedek sought to engage local organisations with specialities in education and designed a pilot project which Tzedek agreed to fund.

The EQUIP program has just completed this one year pilot, focusing on twenty schools in the Saboba and Chereponi districts.  District Teacher Support Team trainers, from Ghana Education Services, responsible for delivering in-service training to school teachers, were engaged by EQUIP to deliver the program to P1 and P3 teachers in formal schools.  The schools were then provided with training and learning materials to support the use of the methods in the classroom.  In addition to this, training was provided to Head teachers, Circuit Supervisors, School Management Committees, and Parent Teacher Associations to raise awareness and support for the program, and to promote understanding of roles and responsibilities. 

Recently, staff members from Tzedek head office in London, Hirsh Cashdan and Umo Young were in the country to evaluate the pilot and to develop plans to extend the program.  The evaluation showed that the pilot has delivered impressive results to date.  Interviews and focus groups conducted have revealed that all the stakeholders involved are in agreement about the success of the program.  Parents and teachers continually note that their children are learning better, faster, and demonstrating greater capability.  Teachers are teaching better, and the supervision has improved.  Head Masters say the program has improved the management of schools.  Children themselves can see the benefits of the teaching and learning materials and say it helps them to understand easier.  “We can see it with our eyes” say the children “we can touch and practise with the materials”.  In addition to this, they note that they learn faster now that they are encouraged to ask questions in class.  Tests were conducted earlier in the pilot in 10 of the participant schools and 4 control schools in literacy and numeracy and the same tests conducted at the end of the pilot showed that the participant school children had, on average, gained 8 percentage points more than the equivalent control school children

Tzedek staff commented that one of the surprising findings of the evaluation was the effectiveness of a quiz competition organised between schools who had received the intervention.  Individuals selected by the school competed against each other in reading, spelling and the identification of images.  School champions then competed against other schools at the district level.  The teachers reported that the quiz competition had been very effective in engaging students, and that selection to participate in the quiz had been a motivating factor in improved classroom participation.

Plans are now in place to scale up the program over the next three years.  An additional nine districts and over 400 schools will be added to the program during this time, beginning with Tolon, Savelugo and Kumbungu districts.  The program will also be extended to train P2 teachers.  The full implementation will be funded by Tzedek supported itself by a large grant from UK based charity, Comic Relief.

The SfL EQUIP Team(from left to right): Bishe Jospeh Ubakoni (District Coordinator), Abukari Kadiri (District Coordinator), Yakambu Muniru Kalamba (District Coordinator), Umo Young (Tzedek Staff), Karimu A Mohammed (SfL Project Manager), Suleman Osman Saaka (SfL Programme Manager), Hirsg Cashdan (Tzedek Staff)

Sending the Teachers Back to School

2nd April, 2013

By Courtney Irwin

For four days last week, School for Life extended their usual role, educating children, to the education of their teachers.  A workshop, held in Savelugu, 20km from Tamale, sought to train 60 teachers from formal schools in the district, in the use of School for Life’s methodology, in the hope that they will adopt these practices in their own classrooms.

School for Life promotes the use of mother tongue literacy, learning aids and active participation within the classroom through engagement between students and teachers.  These approaches are used within School for Life’s own program to deliver complementary basic education for out-of-school children in Northern Ghana.  Through a nine month functional literacy and numeracy program facilitated by community volunteers, School for Life graduates are able to enter formal school between grades three to six.  UNICEF has supported the program in the Savelugu Naton district for two years, and is currently operating School for Life classes in 30 communities.  Deputy Director of Operations, Alhaji Hussein Abdulai Ziblim, promoted the approach, saying that “Children learn better in their mother tongue.  We have tested this for more than 19 years now.”

The workshop itself utilized many of the techniques that School for Life promotes, relying heavily on participation and group work.  “Children learn more in groups.  They learn from each other, and we are trying to impart this to them” explain School for Life District Coordinator Ibrahim Issahaku.

In addition to the teachers, nine circuit supervisors from Ghana Education Service were in attendance, with the aim of supporting the teachers to implement the methodology.  They were particularly happy with the success of the program “The participants have been very keen.  The facilitators are up to the task” they said “Now all that is left is for the participants to implement this, and we will definitely do that!”