Guess what Ghanaian Teachers, Proprietors are saying about their Preparedness and Readiness for school reopening…
The reopening of schools means that early childhood development (ECD) centers will have to concurrently teach and prevent COVID-19 in their schools.
To date, there is no documentation of how schools will meet this challenge, what models of reopening are preferred and feasible, how they will manage cases, and how the pandemic will impact the long-term financial survival of these centers.
Addressing this will require long-term follow-up to document such preparedness and response. Pre-school is needed because it is associated with child development and well-being.
The Center for Learning and Childhood Development-Ghana, a research based non-governmental organization recently conducted a study to document the response and preparedness of early childhood developmental centers to the pandemic.
This study was conducted in Accra, Ghana. Participants were teachers, proprietors, managers, administrators, caretakers, and head teachers of private ECD schools.
Data was collected via phone from 24th December 2020 -January 16th, 2021. Trained research assistants consented and interviewed participants via a telephone because of COVID-19 transmission and the inability to conduct the study in the field. Participant interviews on average lasted about 20 minutes.
A total of 456 participants participated in the study. The participants were made up of 379 ECD teachers and 77 ECD Proprietors/Managers (includes directors, administrators, caretakers, and head teachers). 86% of the schools were located in the urban area, 4.8% in the rural (4.8%), and 9% in the peri-urban areas in the Greater Accra Region.
● Major Highlights
● Most of the ECD teachers (84%) who participated in the study said they are likely or somewhat likely to return to school and teach. None of the proprietors said they would not reopen their school.
This is good news for children. However, about 1 in 9 teachers in the study said they would not return. Some of the reasons included having found a new job, not satisfied with salary and not receiving financial support from their schools during the long break. This high number is concerning, as it may contribute to fewer teachers available to teach daycare students and socially distant students.
● Most of the proprietors said they would not increase tuition (55.8%) when school reopens. Still, about 31% (1 in 3) said they would.
● Close to half (47% of teachers and 48% of proprietors) of the study participants reported they have not received any training on how to teach and prevent coronavirus in the classroom. The majority of them, specifically, 67% of teachers and 80% of proprietors, would like this training.
● A high percentage of the teachers (61.2%) and proprietors (81%) in the study are not worried about getting sick with the coronavirus when school reopens. Many feel confident that they can protect themselves and their students from coronavirus. Most of the proprietors/managers also reported that they have or somewhat have the resources (86%) they need to reopen school. Close to 80% of proprietors said they have a designated room to isolate sick children.
● The most feasible ways the teachers and proprietors said they could prevent coronavirus in their schools are for the children to wear masks and for the schools to have more tents/spaces to implement social distancing. They did not like a shift system for school reopening.
● About 67% of the teachers interviewed said they did not receive any salary during school closures. Only 11% did not have their pay reduced.
● About 80.5% of the proprietors and 54% of teachers said they were not satisfied with the government’s response to the needs of ECD teachers during this pandemic. On a positive note, however, 72% of teachers reported that they were satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the Ghana Education Service’s response.
Implications and Recommendations
● Many ECD teachers and proprietors are strongly motivated to reopen schools.
● Teachers and proprietors would like training on how to teach and prevent COVID-19 in the class.
● Parents should be prepared for tuition increases in some schools.
● Schools with limited resources should be provided with tents so that they can prevent coronavirus.
● Back to school campaigns should not only encourage students to return but teachers as well.
Things to Note
● Good News
○ 84% of ECD teachers said they are likely or somewhat likely to return to teaching when school reopens.
○ 82% of ECD teachers feel confident that their school can protect their students from getting coronavirus.
○ 55.1% of ECD teachers are not at all worried about being infected with coronavirus.
○ 86% of teachers reported they have or somewhat have the resources they need to protect themselves from being sick with coronavirus.
○ 86% of ECD teachers believe they can implement social distancing when school reopens.
○ 72% of ECD teachers are either satisfied with or somewhat satisfied with the response of the GES.
○ 54.5% of ECD responded yes that they have the needed resources at their schools to prevent themselves and their students from getting sick from coronavirus.
○ 86% reported they have the space to socially distance students.
● Not Too Good News
○ 1 in 9 teachers surveyed said they are likely not to return to teaching when school reopens.
■ Major reason’s
● Did not get support from their school.
● Salary not satisfactory
● No financial support from their school
● Don’t want to teach again.
● Going to school
● Changing career because of the long break
○ Only 12.9% of ECD teachers said they are satisfied with the response of the government to the needs of ECD. About 84% felt the government should have given them some direct stipend.
○ About 45% did not say yes, they have the resources they need to protect themselves or their students from getting sick from coronavirus.
○ 25% of the ECD teachers have not received any communication from their school about plans to reopen.
○ 47.5% of the participants reported that they have not received any training on how to prevent COVID in the classroom.
○ 81% want all the children to come to school with more tents/space for social distancing.
○ 64.4% would like training on how to teach and protect themselves during this pandemic.
Source: Mr. Fiifi Nettey (Administrator of the Ghana International Press Centre)/ www.newslinegh.com