Friday, October 25, 2013

‘We need transformational teachers’

The Educators’ Network, an organisation of teachers, says there’s an urgent need to transform the attitude of teachers to help encourage children improve their literacy through reading and writing. 
The Network observed that teachers spend a lot of time outside the classroom, with a high rate of teacher absenteeism occurring at the primary level.
Most Ghanaian primary school teachers spend just 76 days out of the 196 days needed to engage pupils in direct learning activities, according to a World Bank study in 2010.
The study said only 109 school days out of 197 are fully operational as teachers spent other days engaged in activities such as collecting salaries, attending funerals, and travelling long distances to their schools.
The concern was shared by the Network at its third annual Ghana Literacy Summit under the theme “Empowering Children through Words”.
Making a presentation, Dr. Leslie Casely-Hayford, a development consultant, stated that the country’s education sector has not been focusing on improving and empowering children to read and write but rather on other things.

“Our teachers do not seem to be working toward change and improvement in this literacy context, and some do not appear to care about the impact they are having on their pupils.
“Very few teachers know the names of the children in the classroom. The teacher’s attitude plays a major role in the classroom.”
She said most children often fear their teachers because they reprimand them, which discourages them from learning. She therefore advised that teachers’ attitude toward children should be one that focuses on improving their relationship with them.

Dr. Casely-Hayford added that efforts should be made to assist children learn to read first in their mother tongue -- which provides a strong basis for transition to reading in a second language, and helps them to move on to basic phonic and syllabic approaches using meaningful words to build up their confidence in literacy.

The Educators’ Network (TEN) is an association of highly-experienced Ghanaian teachers who share a deep-rooted passion for the profession.
TEN works with simple, effective teaching methodologies to transform the standard of classroom delivery in Ghana and ultimately heighten student achievement at all grade levels.
The Network also engages with teachers, parents, community-members and children to cultivate and develop positive literacy experiences as the basis for sustainable improvements in academic achievement.

Periyar pledges to support rural farmers

Periyar African Foundation (PAF), an Indian non-governmental organisation, has pledged to help improve the social and economic conditions of rural farmers in deprived communities.

The foundation has the objective of empowering rural communities by offering financial and technical assistance to farmers to help bridge the poverty gap between urban and rural communities.
President of PAF K.C. Ezhilarasan, speaking at the foundation’s first anniversary celebration in Accra, said the foundation’s objective in the country will be to develop programmes and concepts targetted at enhancing the lives of rural farmers and their communities.

“We are also planning to ensure provision of best irrigation practices for farmers in the Northern Region to help them with their farming activities all throughout the year. This will enable them to earn additional income and improve their daily lives,” he said.

Saalai Manikam, Secretary of PAF, said the foundation will put in place pragmatic measures to address all problems facing farmers in rural communities, adding: “We will provide training to the farmers and ensure a ready market for their produce”.
She explained that the foundation decided to operate in Ghana out of all the African countries because of the strong relationship between the two nations. “Ghana is a very good friend to India, and it is our responsibility to help bring development to the doorsteps of rural communities in Ghana.”
Manikam indicated that the foundation will spread its wings to other African countries after a successful operation in Ghana, and hoped that Ghanaians will embrace the foundation as it has helped reduce poverty in rural communities in some parts of India. 

The occasion was also used to announce collaboration between Periyar Mamiammai University in India and the University of Development Studies (UDS), to strengthen research and development and eradicate poverty through promotion of education.

The collaboration will focus on exchange of faculty, students, technical collaboration for beneficiary students to pursue further studies in India in various fields of education and development.

KFC executives pay visit

Executives of Yum Restaurant International Inc., which runs the KFC fast-food brand, have visited Ghana and two other African countries where the restaurant chain is operating.
Chief Executive Officer Muktesh Pant was in Ghana with two other top executives of KFC, Misty Reich and Rich Wright. They met Ashok Mohinani, Executive Director of the Mohinani Group, franchise owners of the KFC chain of restaurants in Ghana.
Mr. Pant and his colleagues toured some of the KFC restaurants in Accra, including Osu Oxford Street, the Marina Mall and Spintex Road branches. They also toured the Masco Foods warehouse and met the staff of Masco Foods Ltd.
Mr. Mohsen Dakkak, business head of Masco Foods Ltd., expressed his delight to Mr. Pant and his team, and said that they will work toward making the KFC brand the most preferred quick-service restaurant in the country.