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Education Structure in Ghana - Part 3

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Education Structure in Ghana - Part 3

This is the final installment of our 3-part series on the education system in Ghana, and the goals of The Move Project Academy.

In Part 2 of the blog series we outlined how the education system is structured in Ghana. 

Mission of TMP Academy

TMP Academy exists to develop, encourage, and prepare children to advance through the academic system in Ghana, and so graduates process the knowledge and skills to be successful in the next stage of their lives.

The Academy aspires to be a model of educational excellence in Ghana.

Our initial offering will be Creche through Primary (Pre-K through 6th Grade) and the class sizes will be limited to 20 children per classroom for the Primary grade levels. This will help ensure we launch successfully, learn quickly, and give ourselves the ability to adapt wherever necessary. We desire to provide as much access to education for the community and we firmly believe we must act in a way that provides tangible the children and their families. 

When we officially partnered with Tsipasi three years ago, education was second on their list of most pressing needs. Second only to water. We have spent the last year fundraising, building, planning educational structures of the Academy, and preparing the community for what to expect when education becomes available through TMP Academy.

The community members are all in. They've dreamed of this day and it's finally here!

We will be launching with Primary school but the vision doesn't stop there. We know there is, and will continue to be, a need for Secondary education. This need will naturally grow as the children begin to progress successfully through Primary grades at TMP Academy.

Secondary School Challenges

  • Secondary schools are typically only located in larger towns and cities, making access difficult for rural villages like Tsipasi.
  • If children pass Primary school, they  must test into secondary school.
  • If the child passes admittance testing, Secondary education comes at a cost by way of increased tuition fees, travel expenses, or boarding fees.
    • Because secondary schools are spread out geographically, most also serve as boarding schools as well.

TMP Academy Secondary School

Our vision is to build a secondary school as part of TMP Acacademy in Tsipasi. This will accomplish a few things.

  • Provide local secondary education to Tsipasi children and surrounding villages
  • Increase access to secondary education by having a local option, thus decrease the overall expense (no travel or boarding)
  • Generate more jobs for the adults in the area 
  • Generate more income through the local economy

English Classes & Skills Training

TMP Academy will also be used to facilitate job skills training, various workshops, and English classes for adults. The lack of job opportunities is a problem in Tsipasi and it's right behind education on the list.

Tsipasi is in a rural setting and farming is the main source of income. While farming is a full-time job for the men, it isn't for the Women. We've been discussing with them what other opportunities we could make available. This is where the English classes and job skills training come in at TMP Academy.

Our first training will be in soap making. This training will not only provide a starter kit of supplies to get going, but will also provide them with the knowledge of soap making process so they can begin selling their soap products in the market which is in high demand. Following the training will be a small business workshop to ensure they have the ability to not only create a small business but run it effectively to help bring sustainable income to their families. 

As we've touched on before, the common language in the marketplace is English because people are coming together from various villages and Regions. English classes for adults will also be held at the Academy to provide them with the ability to successfully navigate the selling of goods and crops for themselves in the markets rather than solely relying on a wholesaler.

There are significant opportunities for the farmers of Tsipasi to increase their income if they can sell directly in the markets, and you need to be able to speak English to have the largest reach.

Here's Where You Come In

We can't do any of this work without generous supporters like you.

Nearly 100% of our funding comes from individual donors. Would you consider making a donation of any size to help sustain the work and vision of The Move Project? You can give a secure, tax-deductible gift right on our website, and join hands in the work we're doing in Ghana. 

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Education Structure in Ghana - Part 2

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Education Structure in Ghana - Part 2

This is part 2 in a 3-part series on the education system in Ghana, and goals of The Move Project Academy. 

In Part 1 we outlined how the education system is structured in Ghana. 

It is important to understand that our focus is to work in and around Tsipasi, for the long term, rather than branching out in regions throughout Ghana. Our goal is, to borrow the phrase, to go a mile deep and an inch wide, in order to have a lasting and sustained impact on the children in the area. To help explain why, we'll now turn our attention to some education statistics and how TMP Academy was created to help fill the gap.

TMP Academy is located in Tsipasi, Ghana which is in the Ningo-Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region. 

Statistics

As of the last national reporting data (2014/2015 school year - sources below), here are a few enrollment statistics for the Greater Accra Region:

  • Creche/Nursery (Pre-school)
    • Only about 16% of children are enrolled in school
    • Greater than the National average of 10.9%
  • KG (Kindergarten)
    • Only about 43% of age equivalent children are enrolled, of which roughly 69% pass
    • Less than the National average by nearly half - 82.7%
  • Primary (Elementary grades)
    • About 75% of age equivalent children are enrolled, of which roughly 59% pass
    • Less than the National average of 91%
    • The Greater Accra Region currently has the lowest Primary enrollment rate of any region in Ghana

The current Teacher to Pupil ration is currently 1/32. TMP Academy will begin with a 1/20 ratio to ensure a successful learning environment. Keeping class sizes manageable will also help us see where we need to make improvements or where things are working well in order to scale when we're ready. 

TMP Academy Plan 

Our plan is to begin every child at the Primary grade curriculum that is best for them based on an assessment that will be administered by our Headmaster. Once school is up and running the children will advance according to the standards set by the Ghana Education System. 

As TMP Academy is launching with Creche through Primary grades, we will support the children that graduate out of Primary and are accepted into Secondary School, and on to University.

When the day comes that our students begin graduating out of Primary school and are accepted into Secondary school, The Move Project will support them with tuition and transportation assistance, the two main factors in keeping children from advancing. The nearest Secondary school is located about 5km (3.1 miles) away in the town of Dawa. The Move Project will begin a strategic relationship with that school to help create opportunities for our students.

Our future vision is to continue expanding TMP Academy and develop a Secondary school in Tsipasi. There are many additional benefits to having a Secondary school in Tsipasi beyond the educational aspect, but we'll get to that in the third part of this blog series.

English

The Move Project Academy will teach all classes in English which follows the standard in Ghana. One of the main ways people learn English and if they don't have access to school, they don't have access to learning English which is vital to livelihood in the market and communicating with other communities. Because access to education has been non-existent in Tsipasi, we're also using TMP Academy for adult English courses. This will enable them to successfully operate small business, sell in the marketplace, and work with markets and/or distributors in selling their crops. More on that HERE .

Sources

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Adult Education Classes at TMP Academy

As we put the finishing touches on The Move Project Academy, it's important to clarify that the school will not only be for the community's children. We will also be using the school for adult education classes. Our first offering will be an English class for 25 adults in Tsipasi. Here's why we're starting with English classes:

English and The Market

When TMP first began working with the leaders in Tsipasi, they presented us with their most pressing needs.

The number one issue was lack of access to clean water. This affected the entire village because without a clean water resource, the community had to draw water out of a trench shared with livestock. To meet the need, we installed a well and Tsipasi now has a sustainable clean water source.

The second issue facing the community was lack of education. Tsipasi did not have a formal school and the children had to walk for miles to get to the nearest school. Since Tsipasi is in a remote area, this made travel difficult and resulted in most of the children foregoing an education.

The third issue noted was a method to get crops to market more efficiently and effectively, overcoming the difficulties in transportation. Forced to sell through a wholesaler that comes to the village, the farmers are barely able to sustain themselves. Even if farmers were able to get their produce to market, they would be met with a significant challenges, as English is the common spoken language spoken in the market. 

As we met with the women of the village to hear about their specific needs we heard a common theme. They wanted to learn a trade they could turn into a small business to help sustain the family outside of the planting and harvesting times. Entrepreneurship also requires you to speak English in order to sell your goods at the market.

In the area around Tsipasi, you only know how to speak English if you go to school. Another reason we must provide access to quality education for the children, which will help break the cycle of poverty.  This is why our next move after water, was to create The Move Project Academy.

TMP Academy

In its initial stage, TMP Academy will offer schooling for Creche (pre-school) through grade 6, along with English classes for adults. Our vision for a multi-purpose school coming into focus.

With additional future financing, The Move Project Academy will expand our offerings to include secondary education (Middle School), which would require building a secondary school in Tsipasi. This will expand the access to education not only for the children of Tsipasi, but for the children in the surrounding area.

In Ghana, secondary schools are less numerous than primary schools. As a result, children stay at the school through the entire session, making them boarding schools as well. Having a secondary school in Tsipasi will have a positive impact not only in education, but the local economy as well by creating more jobs. Until we are able to build a secondary school, we will support children to qualify to continue to secondary school by way of tuition scholarships.

Soap Making

The Move Project is also hosting a training program to teach Women of the community soap making, which is a huge need in the area and a skill that can immediately be turned into a small business creating access into the marketplace. Our first class will be 25 people and done along with the English program. The training program will also include courses on small business management. These two items in concert will enable the Women to start their own business. This is all happening at TMP Academy!

This will all begin in the next two weeks. We are only able to do this through generous contributions received by individual donors.

Here is a breakdown of the cost of these programs. You'll be surprised at how little it takes to change the future!

  • Feeding Program: $875/month to feed 120 children
  • Adult English Classes: $315/course to educate & provide materials for 25 adults
  • Soap Making & Small Biz Mgmt Courses: $300/class to provide training &materials for 25 adults

100% of your contributions go directly to supporting the projects outlined above. Donate today at themoveproject.org/donate

 

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Staff Development - Innovations for Poverty Action Event

In the midst of creating The Move Project academy and all the things we're doing to provide a structured learning environment- fundraising, construction, purchasing of materials, etc. - how we develop our staff is a critical area of focus. Our goal is to provide continued educational opportunities for the staff of TMP Academy so they can be at their best. Not only do we look for teachers who will be a great fit for the Academy, be a proponent of Education within the community, and those with a passion serving the children to light the way to tomorrow.

We want teachers who have a desire to continue growing themselves. 

Part of the Academy's budget will be dedicated to continued educational development of our staff. This idea may be commonplace here in the United States, but access to these types of programs is far more difficult in Ghana. Not to mention with Tsipasi being as remote as it is, these types of programs also become cost prohibitive for teachers. In the future, we will bring these educational opportunities to Tsipasi for our staff but for now we have begun planning to send them to Accra for additional learning events. 

The first such event took place on October 10th. Innovations for Poverty Action in Ghana held a Dissemination event on early childhood education research findings. Our team was invited to participate and learn about IPA's Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training work as well as Quality Preschool for Ghana findings they have complied after extensive research. TMP Academy was particularly excited about attending this event as we will focus and invest heavily in our preschool and KG (Kindergarten) classes. This is due, in large part, to the fact that nearly all children in Tsipasi have not received a formal education, thus requiring us to begin their educational experience at the most basic level and build from there. 

Gaining this invaluable knowledge is another way to build towards a successful future.

For more information on Innovations for Poverty Action and the work they are doing in Ghana to inform schools like ours, visit their website at https://www.poverty-action.org.

To see their Ghana specific work, click HERE.

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