In February 2020 the first programme management meeting was held for each of the districts we are working with in the Eastern Region. These meetings are an important part of the teacher training project as they provide an opportunity to reflect on and assess the level of implementation and impact of the project so far.

The meetings were led and facilitated by the various district/metropolitan education directorates and were chaired by District Directors or their representatives. Present at the meetings were the district implementation teams (comprising of the Deputy Directors for Supervision, Training officers, Kindergarten Coordinators), circuit supporters (formerly, circuit supervisors), representatives from the district/municipal coordinating council, representatives from the Parent Teacher Association, teacher and head teacher representatives, staff from the two Colleges of Education and Sabre Education team members.

Discussions focused mainly on sharing the successes, challenges and lessons learnt in each district.

Some of the success shared included that the directorates have been providing more teaching and learning resources to the teachers and teachers have also improved their skills in making their own resources using low cost and recycled materials from their communities, meaning they can offer a wide variety of activities for the children. The play-based approach has offered teachers a deeper understanding of the new standard based curriculum and they are now more confident in delivering this in their classrooms.

In addition, the children are developing and improving their literacy skills (reading, speaking and understanding) and teachers are also demonstrating improved attitudes towards their work. The transformation taking place in the schools has attracted teachers from schools that are not yet part of the project and these teachers have been adopting and practicing ideas they have seen in the Sabre supported schools.

James Adam Sagoe, Head Teacher, A.M.E Zion Basic, Nsawam Adoagyiri Municipal

I am grateful for the selection of my school as part of this project in its first phase. Sabre’s project has changed my perceptions of kindergarten. When I took over as a head teacher, I spent much on the basic school and thought once the kindergarten had furniture, that they would need no further spending. But Sabre’s intervention rekindled the fact that kindergarten is the foundation to any form of education.  I have come to love the kindergarten and have even relocated my office to be close to them. Now I spend more of the capitation grant on kindergarten than the upper classes to support the provision of materials for making teaching and learning resources. For the first time, I am giving their wall a nice painting with lots of rich kindergarten appropriate materials for their resources in the classroom.

Joyce Andoh, Head Teacher at Tinkong Presby Basic, Akuapem North

During our first training, we were taught how to organise a kindergarten specific Parent Teacher Association meeting, so we did that by inviting the parents, showing them around and explaining the new approach in kindergarten. They were so happy that now my enrollment has risen to 60 children because they went out and informed other parents whose children were not with us to bring their children to my school because they perceive it as a model and modern school. With the teaching now play based and the classrooms well arranged with teaching and learning resources, parents are encouraged to even bring their children from other schools.

Ruth Woode, District Coordinating Director, Nsawam Adoagyiri Municipal

We wish to have some seminar or something to bring us in, and we would also apply the knowledge and tools at the children’s level so that those of us who are not teachers but expected to reach out to children can do so appropriately for our Sunday schools. I hope to sit in the training next time to see how I can use this tool to promote religious studies in our schools.

Nicholas Kweku Darko, Deputy Director of Finance, Akuapem North

When the new curriculum was introduced, I had the opportunity to visit 26 districts to monitor the activities of teachers on the delivery on the new curriculum. This gave me a lot of insight as to how teachers present activities in their classrooms. But I had an opportunity to interact with Sabre Education before going to do those assignments for the ministry of education. I must say with confidence that, we in Akuapem North and Okere districts are blessed to have Sabre Education with us. Some major core competence of the new standard based curriculum includes innovation and creativity and as teachers, these competencies must be fixed to achieve curriculum objectives. Sabre Education is helping in this regard, making sure that teachers make very good use of the innovation and creativity aspects of the new curriculum and that is good for us and we must take this seriously.

Challenges were also discussed and included that the child centered pedagogy is new in the districts and since teachers were newly introduced to this approach, their output levels may be low and they may find it challenging.

The pedagogy requires that children are enrolled at the appropriate age but teachers with high enrolment and older or under aged children in their classrooms find it difficult to manage all the activities, especially those classrooms with only one teacher.  Some classrooms lack appropriate furniture which hinders free flow of lessons and activities. and directorates also stated they they would have liked to have more training days.

One challenge which was common to all the directorates was the presence of non-early childhood teachers and non-qualified teachers in the form of attendants in the classrooms. This makes it difficult for attendants to understand the pedagogy and therefore compromises their ability to facilitate the children.

The meeting concluded with future plans being presented by the directorates outlining how they are going to solve some of the challenges confronting them.

This project is funded with UK aid from the British people and Echidna Giving.