How do teachers feels about school reopening?

Welcome to our weekly blog for Teacher Tapp Ghana!

Every Monday we summarize our most surprising and interesting survey findings from the week before. This weekly blog provides an easy way for you to learn about the experiences and opinions of teachers across Ghana.

Please encourage your colleagues to use the Teacher Tapp app to keep engaged with education even when they’re not teaching. Your responses are also a vital data source that will guide decision-making around best policies and approaches for enhancing the welfare of educators/teachers and ensuring robust educational sector management.

Many more teachers will like to be heard and this can be done through Teacher Tapp. Do share this blog with your colleagues and encourage them to use the download links at the bottom of the page. In the meantime, here are this week’s intriguing findings…

1. What happens after long vacation?

Nearly 60% of teachers believe GES have been unclear in their communication on when schools will reopen. Nevertheless, they have announced that a return to the classroom in September is unlikely.

This is a decision that divides teachers. While 40% of our users disagree with this ruling and want schools to reopen in September, the other 40% agree that schools should remain shut.

From speaking to teachers the reasons are what we might expect – some teachers remain concerned about infection and safety. Other teachers, while concerned about these issues, believe that the risk is worth running to make sure students get back into the classroom.

Part of the motivation for this latter group of teachers is concerns about what has happened to teachers over lockdown and over summer. Over half of teachers reported concerns their students will suffer from domestic abuse over summer or pregnancy. 60% were also concerned about students enduring financial difficulties.

With all these diverse concerns we can understand why some teachers want their students where they can help them. The further challenge is that many of these issues that afflict students may make it difficult for them to return to school. Three quarters of you told us you believe it will very difficult to get students back to school for the new academic year.

2 . Cheating in exams

There has been a reported increase in the number of incidents of cheating during the current SHS exams. This has been attributed to increased access to SHS education. Although this argument is not very persuasive, we found out that nearly 70% of teachers have dealt with at least a few cheating incidents in their school in the past.

The vast majority of teachers state they know the protocol to follow if a student is caught cheating. Among these suggested protocols was the idea that an exam hall in which one student cheats should lead to immediate disqualification of all students in that hall. While this was intended to further discourage students from cheating, nearly 90% of teachers do not support the idea.

In other countries around the world, including the UK, the equivalent of SHS exam results have been released recently and caused much disappointment due to being much lower than students were expecting. Is this same fate on the cards for students in Ghana? It is important for GES and schools to start planning for this outcome to ensure it is properly managed if it does occur.

3. The future of remote teaching…

Schools will not be reopening to most students any time soon. This leaves the question of how to continue their education in the new academic year.

Teaching students remotely, using video chat platforms, is unlikely to be the national strategy. Ghana lacks the telecom infrastructure and students lack the technology. However, if this approach was pursued, nearly 80% of teachers believe that they would be able to deliver lessons using this digital format.

Teachers have reported many difficulties using video chat to teach, so it could be that inexperienced teachers are being overly optimistic about how straightforward the process is. Either way, with an uncertain future for education, it is reassuring to know many teachers believe they could work with this educational strategy if they needed to.

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