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Quality Preschool for Ghana (QP4G)

Developing, testing and scaling-up supply- and demand-side interventions to improve Kindergarten educational quality in Ghana

The Context:

The Government of Ghana has recently declared its commitment to addressing the developmental needs of young children and achieving Millennium Development Goals through policies and plans including the adoption in 2004 of the National Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Policy. Among other things, the National ECCD policy addressed issues of kindergarten education as central to improving early childhood development and learning. Internationally, and in Ghana KG education specifically, ECE programs are increasingly seen as a promising way to prevent development delays and foster early learning despite adversity.

The 2012 Government Kindergarten (KG) Situational Report concluded that the 2004 curriculum established is sound, but that teacher behavior has not yet adapted to reflect the new pedagogy. GES concluded that training the 27,000 currently untrained KG teachers in Ghana was a top policy priority. The proposed project aims to help build capacity and support for implementation of the 2004 KG curriculum and to enhance the quality of KG education. Finding a cost-effective scalable model of transformational teacher training to provide high quality ECE services to children in urban, peri-urban and rural communities, and testing the added benefits of engaging parents via an awareness campaign to align parental expectations with these practices, is therefore a critical step for Ghanaian ECE policy and practice. Internationally, this project is relevant to the “Learning for All” agenda, which expands the focus of educational access to include educational quality and learning.

The Project:

The majority of kindergarten teachers in Ghana in both public and low cost private schools are untrained. Many have only a primary education, leaving most teachers without the required training or content knowledge to carry out their tasks. Rectifying this is a top priority for the Ministry of Education’s Ghana Education Service. At the same time, many parents assess preschool quality based on material infrastructure and whether they perceive schools to do “serious lessons,” including repetition of letters and numbers, rather than developmentally appropriate instructional quality and classroom interactions (Bidwell et al., 2014). Thus, attempts to improve instructional quality to focus on age-appropriate teaching techniques may not be favorably viewed by parents, indicating a need to simultaneously intervene on the demand-side.

The key project activities are:

  1. Development and implementation of a short and low-cost training model with National Nursery Teacher Training Centre as the implementing partner (the development of the training and implementation in private preschools is already funded by UBS Optimus Foundation; expansion to public preschools requires SIEF funding).
  2. Development and implementation of a parental awareness intervention that aligns parents’ demands with the accepted age-appropriate standards for quality in ECE introduced on the supply-side.
  3. Research and evaluation to establish program impacts on teaching practices, classroom quality, and children’s social-emotional development and school readiness, as well as programs’ cost-effectiveness, through a randomized evaluation.
Our Approach:

We are working closely with our strategic partner, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), and the National Nursery Teacher Training Center (NNTTC) in Accra to develop the interventions being tested in this study. In addition, we are collaborating with the Ghana Education Service on this project in order to ensure that the programs help to achieve their objectives for improving the quality of kindergarten education in Ghana. By working with a local teacher-training center and within the existing governmental structure for teacher monitoring and support, as well as directly with schools to implement the parental awareness program, both interventions are designed to be scalable if proven to effective during the course of the evaluation.

Project Team:

Larry Aber (PI), Sharon Wolf (co-PI/consultant), Jere Behrman (co-I)

Briefs Related to this Project:
For more information about this project, visit: Improving Kindergarten Quality in Ghana