Education Minister Pays Working Visit To Al-Rayan Int Sch On Public Education Reforms  

The Education Minister, Dr. Mattew Opoku Prempeh has engaged the management of the Al-Rayan International School located at East Legon, to solicit ideas and policy strategies to aid in Ghana’s quest to increase the quality and identify better learning outcomes for public schools.

The sector minister indicated that his visit to the school forms part of the plan to engage the private schools on ways to change the curricula, increase infrastructure and improve the quality of teachers.

 “One of the things we want to do is the curricula review and we hope that when we are done the new curricula will give emphasis to what is necessary in our public education as compared to private schools to improve on life-long learning. We have started doing some and others are undergoing change and we hope the lessons learnt here can be applied elsewhere in the public schools in delivering effective learning outcomes” he stated.

Dr. Mattew Opoku Prempeh also noted that the visit aimed at getting closer to a well-functioning school that is safe and conducive to teaching and learning.

“So I was invited to come and have a feel of what they do here. It is the aspiration of every public school and I hope that from what we’ve learnt here we will incorporate some in the public school system,” he stated.

Dr. Mattew Opoku Prempeh indicated that there is still room for improvement in the public system; a system that is failing too many of our Ghanaians and therefore requires aid from and collaboration with private schools. This will allow the government to achieve its agenda in providing quality and affordable education to all Ghanaians.

“We looked at the environment, we talked about the teaching, students, curriculum, teacher training and it was illuminating to see them using the International Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge Programmes. There is no one true way in education and you can see students doing a lot of well integrated projects. They also go out into the community to explore and have a feel of how the things they learn translate in the community,” he posited.

The Minister was hosted by the School Management team including: Dr. Fatma Odaymat, the Director; Mr. Nouhad Kalmoni, Board Member, and Mr. Nazem Karroum of Samir Engineering, a member of the School Community.

The Director of Al-Rayan International School, Dr. Fatma Odaymat said they were very honoured to receive the Minister of Education who demonstrated his preparedness to bring total reform in the public school system.

According to her, ARIS personalizes learning for students from 46 nationalities with different levels of English abilities. “We have very strong English programs for such students to fill up the gaps. We also have a very strong special educational needs department for kids with both physical and developmental needs. We are an all-inclusive school so we have students from different backgrounds and needs being mainstreamed in the same classroom,” the director stressed.

Dr. Fatma indicated that the Minister was interested to know more about the strategies that are used in the early stages to develop strong numeracy and literacy skills.  He was interested in the Jolly Phonics Programme.

“We really recommended that programme and we were very happy to see that the Minister wanted to incorporate it into the public school system” she intimated.

Dr. Fatma Odaymat noted Ghana also needs to provide training for teachers to build their capacity on how to use the Jolly Phonics programme and other modern teaching and learning strategies.

According to her, the school has a strong collaboration with Samsung where they do a lot of IT integration to ensure that students become independent life-long learners. They allow students to take full responsibility of their own learning to become active participants in the teaching and learning process and also in school decision making.

“At 5 years old we are able to get kids to do active projects which reflect very much on everything they are learning, what they want to do and to change in the school, classroom and community,” Dr. Fatma intimated.

She indicated that knowledge and education has no sense or meaning if students are not able to utilize that knowledge for something fruitful in their lives; if it cannot be translated into their everyday life. Usually, something that will support and improve our communities.

The school Director said they are looking forward to having a teacher training academy using their own teachers who are IB and Cambridge trained to support schools that need such kind of support.

She added that they are seeking to develop a Center for Education Research which is geared towards informing policy changes and developing strong training programs that will help students to become ready for the fast-changing world. We cannot be doing what we did 20 years ago.

“Ghana is capable of raising the standards just as we do every day because we are a Ghanaian based school with teachers from Ghana and so the question is why not? Anybody can do it because if there is a will there is a way and I can see that the Minister has the same mindset of trying to make education a life-long learning process that is more affordable, accessible and of high quality,” she posited.

Dr. Fatma Odaymat said they believe in the concept of cooperation and collaboration because it is something they teach their students in school; how to work as a team, and would therefore want to see that translate in the community between the ministry and the school.