Ghana’s Ministry of Education and Open University, UK, in a partnership, have launched a programme to promote the effective teaching of practical science in Senior High Schools.
The initiative, ‘Open STEM Africa : Ghana’, is aimed at improving practical teaching and learning of science and in particular provide support for under-qualified or inexperienced science teachers, in line with government of Ghana’s education policy.
The module includes a virtual laboratory, “Ghana Virtual Lab, a set of on-screen science instruments built using real data with examples of science lessons to improve the experimental teaching and learning of science in SHS.
The programme is underpinned by continuous professional development for science teachers which enhances confidence skills and strategies to enable improved teaching and learning of science with a particular focus on ICT-based practical science.
Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, speaking at the launch, said the Ministry in collaboration with the science education unit of the Ghana Education Service (GES) has identified the first set of instrument for the Ghana virtual lab and is being created.
He said the framework for professional development which helps SHS teachers to use the virtual lab effectively has also been developed.
The sector minister further indicated that the programme makes provision for professional support for curriculum leaders to enable them effectively implement long-term strategies to improve teaching and learning in the sciences with a particular focus on ICT-based practical science in their schools.
“In early 2020 Open STEM Africa: Ghana will start being rolled out to Senior High Schools and by mid 2020 it will be in all the Senior High Schools which have access to a iCampass through the iBox,” he said.
The full rollout will bring the Ghana virtual lab and associated resources to at least 148 SEIP schools and many SHS science students who will benefit from the opportunity to engage in practical science experiment where they can practice to improve their skills.
Deputy Minister of education in charge of secondary education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum encouraged the team to include continuity and counselling in the model adding that it is important for the students to be guided as well as mentored as they pursue the various courses in science education.
Dr. Kerry Murphy from the Open University, demonstrated the use of the Ghana virtual lab to the participants.