May 30, 2024 1:12 pm

How government’s Covid-19 policy on school closures impacted students and households – Fallouts from a pilot survey

Even though various technological tools were used to aid teaching and learning in schools, they were not the direct mode of knowledge transmission. These technological devices became the main means of delivery when Covid-19 made the traditional face-to-face method of impartation obsolete.

Ghana closed down all schools in March 2020 when the virus started spreading, pending a further notice until the policy was modified in April for all final year students across all the levels to write their exams to complete school.

The Ministry of Education, in a Covid-19 response plan, detailed strategies for ensuring continuity of teaching and learning using remote/online method, the radio, television and online learning platforms. The key goal was to ensure that students completed the 2019-20 academic year.

The IMANI Centre for Policy and Education in a pilot survey presented Thursday, December 16, 2021, revealed the impact of the closure of schools on households and education, considering the paradigm transposition in the delivery method of teaching.

According to the lead researcher who presented the findings, Dr. John Osae-Kwapong, who has spent the last 15 years of his career in US higher education and worked primarily in the area of institutional effectiveness, strategic planning and assessment, the pandemic was “hugely disruptive”.

Dr. John Osae-Kwapong is the lead researcher

The focus of the survey, he noted, was about understanding the barriers, the coping mechanisms and the impact the virus had, starting with parents and guardians.

Speaking with Ghanasonline.com after the presentation, Dr. Osae-Kwapong indicated even though the basic tools for learning were available, participation was generally not encouraging.

“Generally, households were ready to participate in remote learning as they had the basic tools – radio, TV, computer, and internet access. However, there were households who did not have the basic tools to participate”

“Households were aware that the Ministry of Education’s Covid response plan included the use of radio, TV and a learning management platform to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning. [However], overall, the participation in remote learning by households was low,” he explained.

Also, aside gender gaps that lagged households headed by females behind that of males, the Democracy and Development Fellow with CDD-Ghana intimated poor academic performance was the main concern to parents and guardians.

This, he said made “parents and guardians used different methods to cope such as paying for extra classes; buying learning materials for their children to use at home; other family members helping to teach children at home” to keep them abreast with their curriculum.

“Overall, parents and guardians found the covid-19 school closures very disruptive,” he disclosed.

Notwithstanding the pilot nature of the survey with 500 respondents from the middle belt of the country, with a second phase of full implementation to expand the sample, Dr. Osae-Kwapong proposed two recommendations for stakeholders.

“…How do we design future teaching and learning continuity plans in such a way that it ensures greater participation, and addresses any possible equity gaps?”

“How can we design research tools that allows us to fully understand and capture exactly what happened in the education sector during Covid? This is because from just the 2019-20 available education statistics there were about almost 11million learners across the entire education landscape,” he recommended.

Source: Ghanasonline.com

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