Job Losses, School Inspections and how to get more girls into Science!

Welcome to our weekly blog for Teacher Tapp Ghana!

Every Monday we summarise our most surprising and interesting survey findings from the week before. This weekly blog provides an easy way for you to learn about the experiences and opinions of teachers across Ghana.

Please encourage your colleagues to use the Teacher Tapp app to keep engaged with education even when they’re not teaching. Your responses are also a vital data source that GES will be using to help in their decision-making around best policies and approaches to managing the current crisis.

If you’d like to bring more teachers to Teacher Tapp, please share this blog with your colleagues and encourage them to use the download links at the bottom of the page. In the mean time, here are this week’s intriguing findings…

1. Support for digital NIB inspections…

The National Inspectorate Board has been operational since 2011 as a means of monitoring and improving schools in Ghana. The NIB conducts inspections and produces reports on the quality of teaching, learning and leadership within a school.

This inspection process has historically been conducted in-person and is frequently very time consuming. By consequence, the NIB can only inspect a small number of schools within a year.

However, since September last year, the NIB have been migrating to conducting all their inspections online. This is done by gathering survey data and other supplementary information from schools through the internet.

This allows the NIB to produce reports much more quickly, allowing more schools to be inspected and monitored within a year. It also produces a shorter report which is easier to read and contains clearer actions for schools to use as part of their self-improvement.

This shift in inspection format may explain why 41% of you have been able to receive an NIB inspection in the last 18 months and had a positive experience of the inspection process.

Nevertheless, doubts about NIB inspections persist. There are long-standing questions about inspectors using relatively sparse information to classify schools as ‘Outstanding’ or even ‘Unsatisfactory’.

This concern likely led to 82% of you telling us that you believe inspections need to take into account more information.

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The interesting question that follows is – what kind of information? Inspections already involve gathering information from a wide range of stakeholders – students, parents, individuals within the broader community. These are groups who are frequently neglected in other systems of school inspection.

Perhaps inspectors fail to gather enough data on teachers’ classroom activity? This is likely to be an even larger issue if inspections proceed digitally. Either way, we’d love for you to let u s know what information school inspections are neglecting – just send an email to baz@teachertapp.co.uk.

2 . Some teachers are losing their jobs

We were glad to hear that no teachers who use our app have lost their job during the current crisis.

Nonetheless, we were worried to see that 1-in-2 of you have heard of a private school teacher losing their job.

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Private school teachers make up about a third of the teacher workforce in Ghana. They are frequently in much more precarious employment than their colleagues in the state sector. This has never been clearer than during the current crisis when the loss of private school fees makes it impossible to retain staff in employment and pay their salaries.

This also poses a big challenge to teachers in the state sector. If private school teachers are forced into poverty and other work, then there will be an influx of former private school students into government schools. This will increase demand on state school teachers.

It thus seems that at least one of GES’ strategies for the coming months should be to mitigate this loss of earnings and employment for private school teachers. Dealing with this problem now will prevent it escalating into a much larger, much more expensive, problem later on.

3 . How to encourage more girls into STEM

We were delighted to see that 82% of our users believe that there should be more women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) jobs in Ghana. This is especially pleasing given that there are more men who use Teacher Tapp than women.

Nonetheless, these responses also capture that there is a current gender disparity for entry into STEM. In a lot of research, one of the main drivers of this gender disparity is how much teachers encourage and reward female interest in STEM subjects. Studies have shown that teachers are more likely to engage in these behaviours with male students than female students.

Within the Ghanaian context, 1-in-3 of you told us you believe that teachers in Ghana are similarly less likely to encourage girls to excel in STEM subjects. A similar third also told us that you believe teachers are less likely to encourage girls to pursue STEM subjects for their teritary education.

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The interesting question for us is to understand if male teachers are more likely to be one of the two thirds of teachers who think boys and girls are encouraged equally. As soon as we’ve done the analysis, you’ll be the first to know the results!

4. Finally, we know you’re finding our daily readings useful, so here are all of the ones from last week…

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