AD374: Ghana’s e-learning program during pandemic presents access challenges for many students

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Dispatches
2020
374
Mavis Zupork Dome and Daniel Armah-Attoh

To try to ensure continuous teaching and learning while schools are shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education (MoE) through the Ghana Education Service (GES) has introduced virtual learning platforms. Televised (Ghana Learning TV) and online (icampus) programs, along with a radio reading program, are to provide students the opportunity to continue studying their core subjects – mathematics, English, science, and social studies – as well as selected electives (Graphic, 2020; Myjoyonline, 2020; News Ghana, 2020).

As in many other African countries (Krönke, 2020), these virtual platforms are intended to help ensure inclusive and equitable access to and participation in education at all levels. The question is how many students will be able to access them.

Data from the Afrobarometer Round 8 (2019) survey in Ghana suggest that many students – especially those living in rural or poor households – will find it difficult or impossible to participate in these e-learning initiatives because they don’t have access to the necessary devices, to the Internet, or to reliable electricity. These findings point to a need to prioritize radio and television programs in the short run and invest in expanded access to online resources for the longer haul.