Teachers' concerns about the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill and Schools re-opening...
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. A Tale of Two Crises
COVID-19 has created a renewed respect for scientists all over the world. However, scientists can only provide governments with advice. Ultimately, it is up to the government to apply this advice appropriately and correctly.
We asked you how much you trust the government to do this and your responses were very positive. 85% of you told us you trust the government to appropriately utilise scientific advice.
What we loved about this result was how much it directly contrasted with the responses we got when we asked a similar question in the UK. When we asked teachers in the UK how confident they felt about the UK government’s ability to correctly apply scientific advice, 85% said that they did not feel confident at all. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of the Ghanaian response!
What could explain this difference? Trust in the UK government is generally low after a series of scandals suggesting mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis. Public morale is also low as the UK has one of the highest death rates from the virus in the world – much higher than Ghana.
In addition, many schools will reopen from today (June 1st) and the majority of teachers feel that this is too early for a safe, well-managed return to school. Many scientists have opposed the government’s actions, decreasing trust in the government’s ability to apply scientific advice correctly.
In contrast, Ghana has a low death rate from the virus and the government has distinguished itself from other countries with its quick, decisive action. Much of this is likely because of plans already in place after the 2015 Ebola crisis. Either way, 41% of you told us that you were satisfied with the government’s response to the virus suggesting a much more positive appraisal than the public in the UK.
How long will this positive attitude last however? Polls from around the world have shown that governments have experienced high approval ratings early on in crisis and that these have quickly dropped after it becomes unclear when things will return to normal. Things may very quickly turn for GES and the rest of the Ghanaian government…
2 . The young and the bold
With the fate of the WASSCE and BECE undetermined, one suggested alternative is for teachers to use their previously collected assessments to give students the equivalent of an exam grade.
This would allow students to progress in their education without the organisational challenge and health risk of running national exams.
How do teachers feel about this possibility? Previously, teachers have told us that they support the move to continuous assessment. But when we asked most recently, there was an interesting breakdown in the data. Teachers who have been in the profession the least amount of time were twice as confident as more experienced teachers in their readiness to provide continuous assessment.
For example, many teachers in countries now using continuous assessment have reported finding the experience upsetting. This is because they now feel personally responsible for giving students low grades that may obstruct their future rather than it being an anonymous examiner.
Either way, if continuous assessment is implemented nearly all teachers told us that they would require training in order to engage it effectively. Perhaps this training would help them all feel more prepared for these challenges.
3 . Tax increases vs. Budget cuts
Around the whole world, the impact of COVID-19 is forcing governments to make difficult decision. As discussed in one of our readings, many countries are deciding that they will need to increase taxes in order to recoup the money lost through the crisis as well as continuing to fund government schools.
Other countries are deciding to cut their budgets for this coming year, resulting in lower investment in schools. This does, however, mean citizens won’t experience a tax increase.
We wondered which of these outcomes you would prefer, if you had to choose between them. Our response rate to this question was lower than usual – clearly many users found the question particularly difficult to answer.
But of those that did answer, there was an interesting breakdown in the data based on time spent in the profession.
Teachers who had been in the profession for less than 5 years or for between 10 and 20 years were more likely to support taxes staying the same but education spending decreasing. Meanwhile, teachers who had been in the profession for 5-10 years or over 20 years were more likely to support a tax increase to support a normal level of investment in education.
4. Finally, we know you’re finding our daily readings useful, so here are all of the ones from last week…
PLUS, nearly all our readings this week have been written by teachers in Ghana! Read them here –
- 6 methods to help students memorise anything
- 5 tips to improve student punctuality
- Writing a teacher mission statement
- Solving student attendance – some tips
- Can critical thinking be taught?
- Changing education after COVID-19
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