For the past two weeks the GEDP Team has been travelling to each of the 10 regions in Ghana. The purpose of these regional visits is two-fold: to report back to the Regional Education Decentralization Advisory Committees (REDAC) on the draft decentralization framework and to conduct monitoring of ICT user training being provided to region and district staff on the use of desktop computers and software applications required by the new framework.
I was part of Team A which visited the southern regional capitals: Greater Accra Region, Takoradi in Western Region, Cape Coast in Central, Ho in Volta and Koforidua in Eastern Region. We travelled in a Ford 4x4 provided by the project - luxury travel when compared with my daily tro-tro trip. Not that we actually needed the 4x4; the roads we travelled were paved. But the shoulders were crumbling and the roadway was punctuated periodically with potholes and speed bumps, so with 6 of us packed in it was definitely more comfortable.
Our Communications Officer, Mr. Kofi Asare, was charged with leading us in our pre-departure prayer for a safe journey and successful trip. I was glad for it too. There was much evidence of death and destruction on the roadside during our trip: crumpled taxis, overturned and burnt out transport trucks and regular road signs indicating the death toll at particular points along the way. Brutal traffic congestion, a side-effect of increasing economic growth, prompts the aggressive driving habits that contribute to the carnage.
The REDAC meetings were somewhat formal affairs attended by regional and district directors who had participated in advising the GEDP Team throughout the framework development process.
While the big-shots were discussing the big-picture, local staff were being trained in the basics of computer and internet usage. These will be key tools to carry out the administration and day-to-day operation of the Ghana Education Service once it transitions to the decentralized model.
Some senior staff needed training in basic computer literacy while others, typically junior staff, were completely at home with their new desktops, needing little more than an overview of the new toolset.
The training was conducted by local ICT staff. Our job was simply to monitor the training and report on the general level of uptake by the new users. The level of enthusiasm, even among senior staff, with learning these new skills was very heartening.
More pictures from the REDAC and ICT User Training are here.