The London-based Varkey Foundation has announced a two-year, $2 million grant from Dubai Cares to pilot a distance-learning teacher-training program that addresses the critical need for well-trained teachers in Ghana.
The grant will enable Varkey to launch Train for Tomorrow, an interactive program designed to train up to five thousand teachers in Ghana, where 45 percent of primary school teachers are untrained. Through the program, master trainers in Accra will broadcast live, interactive two-hour training sessions to approximately eight hundred teachers through forty satellite-enabled hub schools every two weeks. In addition, each of the schools will have two instructional leaders to help facilitate the lesson inside the classroom. Training sessions will focus on student-centered learning and modern teaching methods, including group work, critical thinking, and the use of higher-order thinking skills, as well as creating a positive classroom environment, applying different strategies for visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners, and understanding when, where, and how to assess students.
Teachers who receive training will then train primary, middle, and high school teachers in their own schools, bringing the total number of trained teachers to five thousand during the first year of the program. If the pilot is successful, Varkey will use the infrastructure to train additional teachers in Ghana and beyond.
"The innovative use of this technology can disrupt the longstanding problem of poor teaching methods, which lead to generation after generation of functionally illiterate children emerging from school," said Varkey Foundation CEO Vikas Pota. "By making use of interactive live feeds inside a normal classroom, a remote master trainer can observe lessons in real-time and give immediate feedback to teachers. This means more frequent and high-quality communication and support for teachers, which we believe can be a real game changer for education across sub-Saharan Africa."