Professor Benjamin Jabez Botwe Nyarko, the Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), has called for the integration of online learning into the educational system to maximise time spent outside school hours and improve learning outcomes.
He said that was even more compelling with the double-track system, which would make it possible to engage students at home.
Prof Nyarko made the call at the 51st Speech and Prize-Giving Day of the Labone Senior-High School in Accra on the theme: “Changing Trends in Our Current Educational System: Technology as a Useful Tool”.
“We must not be oblivious of the fact that our children and students have already embraced technology and reaping the effects of the negative side of technology,” he said.
Some students had become addicted to social media platforms and spent hours posting and chatting, denying them the opportunity to read materials of substance, Prof Nyarko said.
While the rest of the world had integrated technology into teaching and learning to enhance students’ ability to grasp complex ideas and challenging content using technology, Ghana had not advanced beyond the board and marker stage, he said.
“We do not have to reinvent the wheel; we do not have a completely bleak situation on our hands. We must find meaning in our vision and theme and get …. into action while keeping close eyes on the global trends,” he said.
Prof Nyarko, a member of the 83-Year Group, said over the years technology had become part and parcel of the tools of the educator and the educated globally.
“However, in our part of the world, our act ions and inactions may suggest that we have become resistant to the changing global trend as far as education is concerned,” he said.
“There are periods where change becomes inevitable and a waste of that opportunity could have far-reaching consequences.”
“If there is anything worth our efforts and energies, as a country and as individuals, it must be quality education for our children”.
To all intents and purposes, quality education should be measured in the ability to solve problems and be globally competitive, Prof Nyarko said.
“Our school vision requires this of us, the Sustainable Development Goal number Four requires this of us, the theme for this occasion requires this of us.”
Prof. Kwasi Opoku Amankwaah, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, in an address read on his behalf, said the theme was appropriate considering the crucial role technology played in the educational system.
“We are in a generation where technology has surrounded us from all sides, most especially in such critical times of COVID-19, where working groups, organisations and individuals are compelled to design different ways of solving problems,” he said.
The National Distance Learning and Open Schooling programme involving the production of audio-visual lessons were clear proofs of how technology could improve learning outcomes, he said.
“Technology has indeed created room for teachers to receive training in ICT to help them to develop effective pedagogical techniques,” he added.
Mrs Cynthia Obuo Nti, the Headmistress of the School, enumerated some of the challenges the school faces to include the eight-unit block for staff, a GETFund project, which had stalled for more than 10 years, provision of a school vehicle, and the refurbishment of the Science Laboratory and the Dining Hall.
She commended the various Year Groups for their immense contributions towards the development of the school.
Special awards were presented to students who excelled during the academic year.