Teachers, parents appeal for free data

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Some teachers and parents have appealed to the network providers for free data to facilitate e- teaching and learning in the country during this period of COVID-19.

Most of the schools have set up parent-teacher platforms through which exercises are forwarded to parents or guardians for their children to have access to lesson notes and homework.

In some of the schools, the children send completed assignments back to their teachers for marking, a practice which they said required a lot of data, especially for the teachers.

For instance, the headmaster of Star International School at Teshie in Accra said his school was on the e-learning programme, from Nursery One to JHS Three and the teachers were mandated to set up WhatsApp groups for the various classes.

He said before the lockdown, parents brought the exercises for marking twice a week to the school but since the partial lockdown, parents submitted the work online, adding that the teachers also did audio lessons for the children and all that required data.

“The school initially agreed to provide data for the teachers but it wasn’t sustainable”, he added.

The Proprietress of the Perpetual Help School, Mrs Justine Wordui, said her school started the e-schooling three weeks ago, using the Zoom Cloud meeting app which functioned well.

She said things were moving on well but later, parents started having problems such as cost of data, poor network and also giving children access to their mobile phones when they had to go out.

She said at the moment, she had closed the JHS 2 class because out of the 18 students, only three of them participated because some parents could not afford data and others too complained of poor network.

She said since the government was doing well in providing water and electricity, others should also endeavour to help. She therefore tasked internet providers to either provide free data or give it at a reduced price so parents and teachers would afford, since e-learning was yielding good results.

A teacher at the Elsie Lund School, Tamale, in the Northern Region, Mr Ronald Yeboah, said his region was not on lockdown so the teachers gave the schoolchildren weekly projects and their parents submitted them on Mondays.

He said most parents were very much involved but others did not show any interest at all.

While some parents were fine with the current arrangement, others too did not have any idea what was going on.

“I don’t have a smartphone so my son has not been able to do the homework their teachers have been sending them online. I know he is missing out but I can’t let him go out to his friend’s house and do the work because of the virus”, said Ms Comfort Boama, a trader in Kumasi.

“But even if I get the smartphone, how am I going to get the data to use? He is sad and I am sad. The situation is really serious”, she added.

Mr Bernard Tumi in Takoradi, Western Region, said he was an essential worker and had to go to work with his phone, making it difficult for him to give his son the homework his teachers posted online.

“He would be asleep by the time I get home so sometimes, it makes the work pile up and I am only able to give them to him during the weekend”, he said.

Mr Tumi said the whole concept was good because a lot of parents commented on the platform for more clarifications on questions, which he thought was healthy.

Georgina Amankwa, a JHS 2 student of the Holy Spirit School, in Kumasi, said her mother was home so she was able to access the questions her teachers put online.

“This keeps me very busy because I hardly rest as there is always something to do. I still want to study in the classroom where all our friends will be present. We pray Covid-19 goes so we can go back to our classrooms and see our friends”.

source:graphic.com.gh

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