Ghana science resource centres
Over the last two years CSE has provided one of a team of eight consultants to a project aiming to improve science teaching in Ghana.
Working with ITEC Ltd, and funded by the Ghanaian Ministry of Education, the intended outcome of the Science Resource Centres project was to encourage teachers to adopt an inquiry based approach to their science lessons, making practical investigations central to students' learning.
The first phase of the project involved installing into two hundred senior high schools full sets of science equipment.
The second phase was the delivery of continuing professional development (CPD) to staff from the schools. Each school sent four staff members (a teacher of each of chemistry, physics and biology and a technician) for a month-long programme in Kumasi, in the Ashanti region of Ghana.
From 2013-2014, almost one thousand teachers completed the programme.
The final, and perhaps most important, phase of the project is the development of 'Co-trainers'. The Co-trainers are Ghanaian science teachers and technicians, identified from those in the early cohorts of the CPD programme, who have the skills and confidence to become CPD leaders themselves. By building the capacity of Ghanaian teachers to deliver CPD, the reliance on overseas consultancy may ultimately be reduced, leading to a more sustainable school improvement system. Co-trainers worked alongside, and were mentored by, the UK trainers to deliver the CPD programme to later cohorts, and worked together to plan smaller packages of CPD which could be delivered in schools as needed.
The transition of the Co-trainers from expert teacher to CPD provider is now the subject of a small-scale research study being carried out by a team from CSE.
The aim is to understand what support is essential for them to feel confident to deliver CPD and what further support they now need from their peers, UK trainers, school leaders and the Ministry of Education. The findings of this research will be published in 2015.