Wednesday, 6 November 2013

School for Life/Tzedek Education Quality Initiative Project (EQUIP)

By Abdulai Imoro, EQUIP Project Coordinator, School for Life

 The EQUIP Programme seeks to improve the quality of education in selected schools in Northern Region.  The program is aimed at improving learning outcomes in schools; cultivating reading habits in children; promoting independent learning; and building confidence in teachers though the following interventions:

·       Training of selected teachers in learner- centered, mother – tongue, gender sensitive teaching, and the creation of teaching and learning materials from local sources and teaching of reading and writing skills

·       Training of head teachers in aspects of school management

·       Training of Ghana Education Service school supervisors to perform their roles more effectively

·       Provision of materials of various sorts to the schools to promote the culture of reading among children

·       Conducting competitions and assessments to test performance and achievements

·       Organize orientation workshop for SMC/PTA Executive members on their roles

The project seeks to integrate solutions to the inhibitors and shortcomings that prevent the achievement of quality education in rural primary schools, building on solutions that have been tried and proven but have not been previously brought together in a single programme. In order for EQUIP to be able to give the treatment above to beneficiary schools, the following strategies are used:

·       Phonic/syllabic approach

·       Use of games to teach both Literacy and Numeracy

·       Child- centered approach

·       Word problems to teach numeracy

·       Use of songs and rhymes in teaching both Literacy and Numeracy

·       Use of relevant teaching and learning materials to explain basic concepts.

The School for Life/Tzedek EQUIP programme started as a pilot project in Saboba and Cheriponi Districts. During the pilot, Ten schools were chosen as EQUIP schools in each of the pilot Districts. After the pilot, the project extended its coverage to include two new districts; i.e. Savelugu District and Kumbungu District were added to the beneficiary districts of EQUIP.

Whiles the project extended its coverage by adding more districts, it increased the number of beneficiary schools in each of the existing districts. Thus, the number of beneficiary schools was increased from ten during the pilot to twenty new schools, in the existing districts. In all, twenty new schools were added in each of Saboba and Cheriponi districts when it extended its coverage to new districts. 

EQUIP is a Comic Relief funded project which seeks to complement the efforts of the Government in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES), School for Life, and the Cheriponi, Saboba, Savelugu and Kumbungu District Assemblies.  The key stakeholders/partners of EQUIP include; The Ghana Education Directorates of beneficiary districts, District Assemblies of Beneficiary districts, heads of schools, SMC/PTA, teachers as well as pupils.  Whiles the above institutions/personalities are partnering, School for Life is an Implementing partner of Tzedek, which initiates policies/programs with partners and implements the projects on the ground.

The School for Life/Tzedek EQUIP is implemented by Project Staff made up of four (4) District Coordinators, a Project Coordinator and Project Manager. All district coordinators report to the Project Coordinator who in turn reports to the Project Manager. The Management of School for Life, exercises oversight responsibility over all EQUIP project staff.

In order to determine the success of the programme, baseline, mid-line and end-line studies will be conducted, which will include comparisons to other approaches; e.g. teacher training, learning outcomes by learners in a control group which receives no quality education strategies.  Within these approaches, several elements will be tested. There will be six elements including;

·       Pupils’ phonic knowledge

·       Pupils’ alphabetic knowledge

·       Pupils ability to read simple text

·       Pupils’ ability to read and comprehend

·       Pupils ability to recognize numbers

·       Pupils’ ability to do simple calculations

Results of these evaluations will be incorporated into future programme development efforts.
Teachers participating in teacher training sessions
Teacher delivers findings from group discussions to the class

Group work encourages participation