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Teachers and school leaders from Ghana and Nigeria are receiving ICT training thanks to a new scheme from Microsoft and the British Council

Participants in the Africa Digital Schools Project ‘Badiliko’ learn about leadership skills, ICT innovation and integration in teaching and learning. ‘Badiliko’ is the first project to be implemented as part of the new global agreement between Microsoft and the British Council. Over the next two years, the two companies will each invest US$1mn in cash, plus staff and in-kind resources to build 80 digital hubs across six sub-Saharan countries.

The project aims to improve ICT use in innovative teaching practice, helping teachers hone their English language skills, and providing content to help educators increase their students’ knowledge and ability to engage in a global environment. The first ever training under this project took place recently at the Mensvic Grand Hotel in Accra. The training was officially launched by Ghana’s Deputy Minister for Education, Mahama Ayariga.

In his speech, Ayariga pledged the government’s commitment to see ICT access improving in schools and spoke of the government’s initiative to provide access to ICT hardware in schools – an initiative that has seen over 60,000 computers being installed in schools across Ghana. He also pledged the government’s commitment to improving policies that will see increased adoption of ICT in schools. These include frameworks to embed ICT into the curriculum, making it an examinable and competitive subject.

“As a country, our focus is not only on providing ICT infrastructure, but it is about providing pedagogical tools to teachers,” Ayariga said. “We are happy that the British Council and Microsoft are providing this through the teacher trainings.”

Speaking on behalf of the British Council, Business Director for Ghana, Juliet Amoah, said that the British Council will continue supporting ICT access and use in schools in Ghana. “Already, we have set up three digital hubs and training over 150 teachers across Ghana,” she said. The British Council has set up digital hubs in Sefwi Wioso, Duayaw Nkwanta and Axim districts which have been in operation since April 2010, serving over 20,000 students and surrounding communities.

“Based on the experience that we got from the first three hubs, we are confident that we will be able to provide much more access to teachers and learners with the addition of 20 more hubs,” Amoah said.

The British Council are on target to have installed 20 more digital hubs in 20 districts by March 2012, training over 5,000 teachers by June 2012. The Badiliko training course modules are structured to equip teachers to become trainers of trainers. Teachers will be taken through modules such as managing change, leading effective teaching and learning, ICT skills development, International dimensions and technology, innovative teaching and learning, and so on. At the end of the course, the teacher will become a digital ambassador for the programme, and will be expected to train other teachers.

The digital hubs, which are being built in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia, will provide access to students, teachers and the surrounding communities. Teachers participating in this pilot project were selected in conjunction with the Ministry of Education of Ghana and Nigeria, British Council and Microsoft. Most of them are IT teachers in schools with a good understanding of using computers to teach and learn.