The Africa Digital Schools Project From British Council & Microsoft Partners in Learning

 41 teachers embrace ICT and school leaders from Ghana and Nigeria get trained in leadership skills, ICT innovation and integration in teaching and learning.

Teachers, district officers and school heads, drawn from Lagos, Abuja, Rivers, Kano, Imo and Edo states are in Ghana where they are being trained as digital ambassadors and school leadership facilitators, under the Africa Digital Schools Project “Badiliko”.

 

The Africa Digital Schools Project “Badiliko” is the first project to be implemented as part of the new global agreement between Microsoft and the British Council. Over the next two years, the two companies will each invest $1M in cash, plus staff and in-kind resources to build 80 digital hubs across 6 Sub Saharan countries.

 

The project, officially launched in November 2011, aims at improving ICT use in innovative teaching practice, helping teachers hone their English language skills, and providing content to help educators increase their students’ knowledge and ability to engage in a global environment.

 

The first ever training under this project has kicked off in Mensvic Grand Hotel, Accra. The training was officially launched by Ghana’s Deputy Minister for Education, Hon. Mahama Ayariga.

 

In his speech, Hon. Ayariga pledged the government’s commitment to see ICT access improving in schools. The Deputy Minister spoke of the government’s initiative to provide access of ICT hardware in schools, an initiative that has seen over 60,000 computers being installed in schools across Ghana. He also pledged the government’s commitment to improve policies that will see increased adoption of ICT in schools. These include frameworks to embed ICT into the curriculum, making it an examinable and competitive subject.

 

“As a country, our focus is not only on providing ICT infrastructure, but it is about providing pedagogical tools to teachers. We are happy that the British Council and Microsoft are providing this through the teacher trainings,” he says.

 

Speaking on behalf of the British Council, Business Director for Ghana Juliet Amoah says that the British Council will continue supporting ICT access and use in schools in Ghana. “Already, we have set up 3 digital hubs and training over 150 teachers across Ghana,” she says. The British Council has set up digital hubs in Sefwi Wioso, Duayaw Nkwanta and Axim districts. The hubs have been in operation since April 2010, serving over 20,000 students and surrounding communities.

 

“Based on the experience that we got from the first three hubs, we are confident that we will be able to provide much more access to teachers and learners with the addition of 20 more hubs,” she says.

The British Council will have installed 20 more digital hubs in 20 districts by March 2012, training over 5,000 teachers by June 2012.

Ugochukwu Nwosu, Microsoft’s Citizenship and Partners in Learning APM for Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, says that Project Badiliko is Microsoft’s way of driving deeper innovation in learning.

 

“Since 2008, Microsoft has trained over 50,000 educators and reached over six million people in West Africa through the Microsoft Partners in Learning programme. Through the Badiliko project, we expect to reach over 8,000 teachers and provide ICT infrastructure to over 30 schools across Ghana and Nigeria,” he says, “This will go a long way to support the various national efforts of both governments, who have emphasized on education as a key catalyst to economic development in their various national plans.”

 

The Badiliko training course modules are structured to equip teachers to become trainers of trainers. Teachers will be taken through modules such as managing change, leading effective teaching and learning, ICT skills development, International dimensions and technology, innovative teaching and learning, and so on. At the end of the course, the teacher will become a digital ambassador for the programme, and will be expected to train other teachers.

 

By June 2012, the project will have trained over 20,000 teachers whilst building 80 digital hubs across Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia. The digital hubs will provide access to students, teachers and the surrounding communities.

 

Teachers participating in this pilot project were selected in conjunction with the Ministry of Education of Ghana and Nigeria, British Council and Microsoft. The teachers are very enthusiastic about what they are going to learn. Most of them are IT teachers in schools with a good understanding of using computers to teach and learn.

 

The teachers express interest in professional development courses that will add to their outcomes. They say that training in leadership and ICT will greatly help them become more effective and efficient in their jobs. Basic ICT skills and access to computers and the internet will further avail to them a large resource of teaching and learning materials, curbing the shortage of teaching and learning materials in schools.

 

Some of the teachers say that the knowledge of basic Microsoft Office tools like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint can be used to simplify lesson preparation and presentation, making work easier for the teacher, as well as learning more interesting for the learner.

 

About The British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in over 100 countries in the arts, education and English and in 2010/11 we engaged face to face with 30 million people and reached 578 million. We have 6,800 staff worldwide. Our total turnover in 2010/11 was £693 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was £190 million. The remainder was generated through trading activities such as English language teaching. For every £1 of taxpayer money invested we earn £2.65 in additional income. For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org

 

About Microsoft Partners in Learning

Microsoft Partners in Learning (PIL) is a global initiative designed to help increase technology access for schools, foster innovative approaches to pedagogy and teacher professional development, and provide education leaders with the tools to envision, implement, and manage change.  PIL is a 10-year, $500 million global investment in education.   Through this investment (PIL), Microsoft helps teachers and school leaders connect, collaborate, create, and share so that students can realize their greatest potential.

 

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