Researchers discuss early childhood education with Northern Ghana communities

21 May 2024
A workshop held in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital of Ghana
Credit: Nana Amma Asante-Poku

A recent workshop held in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital of Ghana, underscored the significance of play-based learning in Early Child Education (ECE). Over 70 ECE stakeholders from various districts in the Northern region converged to participate in the event, which also saw the presence of a collaborative team of researchers from the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, and Associates for Change. 

The workshop provided a platform for stakeholders to engage in discussions surrounding the findings of a joint study titled "Teacher Capacity for Play-Based Early Learning in Ghana and Sierra Leone," funded by GPE KIX, in partnership with IDRC. The study, jointly implemented by ISSER, the Division of Education Studies at the University of Sierra Leone, and research consulting firm Associates for Change (AFC), aimed to explore the efficacy of play-based education in the Ghanaian context. 

During the workshop, Prof. Peter Quartey, in a virtual address, highlighted the importance of research in achieving sustainable development. Dr. Clement Adamba presented quantitative research findings from Northern Ghana, focusing on statistical analyses and key observations. Dr. Leslie Casely-Hayford, AFC Director and Co-Principal Investigator, provided insights from qualitative research, drawing parallels between educational landscapes in Ghana and Sierra Leone. 

Discussions at the workshop delved into various aspects, including the adaptation of Ghana's educational system to the new early learning curriculum, challenges in school infrastructure and resources, and the imperative for teacher capacity building in play-based pedagogy. 

Gladys Deborah Pareseh, Regional ECE Coordinator, emphasized the stark reality of infrastructure limitations and poor teacher-pupil ratios, advocating for increased government support in impoverished communities. Similar sentiments were echoed by other participants, including Cyprian Ekor from Right to Play (RTP) and Hamdaratu Abdul-Majeed, Metropolitan SHEP Coordinator. 

The workshop concluded with an emphasis on research-driven interventions for advancing ECE development, acknowledging the challenges and calling for concerted efforts, particularly from government stakeholders, to address infrastructure deficits and training needs. 

Despite concerns about research fatigue, stakeholders affirmed their commitment to supporting and collaborating on future research endeavors aimed at driving sustainable development in the region. 

The workshop, held at the Modern City Hotel, Tamale, on April 19, 2024, served as a significant step towards promoting play-based education and improving ECE outcomes in Ghana. 

Explore research outputs from the project here.