Ghana: Learning online even without internet access

Read how ASANKA, a low-cost, low-powered, durable learning management system that connects offline learners to local content for free, is helping to improve education outcomes in Ghana.

November 16, 2023 by F. J. Cava, TECHAiDE
3 minutes read
Credit: TECHAiDE
Credit: TECHAiDE

This is the 5th blog in our series showcasing the winners of the African Union ‘Innovating Education in Africa’ program.

Current educational practices in Ghana are not producing the necessary educational outcomes for students’ basic literacy and numeracy skills.

The 2018 World Development Report found Grade 2 students in Ghana were among those with the lowest scores across the 12 countries analyzed (including 7 African countries): almost 82% were unable to read a single word of a short text, and 70% were unable to complete 2-digit subtraction exercises.

Education challenges in Ghana are also tied to accessing both a quality education data management information system and teaching materials. The Ghana Education Service, in conjunction with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA), sets a national curriculum, but leaves schools to decide which content to deliver.

Seemingly a benefit on the surface, this freedom allows for learning content providers to flood Ghana with educational content exhibiting varying levels of quality. And to be clear, not all learning content is equal. Language comprehension is essential to improving student reading comprehension and related abilities that can lay the foundation for a student’s learning trajectory.

Furthermore, even if textbooks contain quality learning content, many students in Ghana still don’t receive them due to varying reasons, whether poor roads hindering deliveries, theft, spoilage or lack of inventory control.

In addition, without efficient and effective education data management tools, many teachers, administrators and ministers are left with guessing, luck and traditional methods to improve educational outcomes.

Focusing on curriculum and education data to improve learning

Based in Ghana, TECHAiDE is a bespoke information and communications technology (ICT) solutions deployment firm that has been working in Africa since 2011 to improve education and support youth development.

In collaboration with international development partners in Africa, Europe and America, we have provided appropriate technologies and developed human capacities to unleash the potential of individuals, communities and institutions.

Credit: TECHAiDE

TECHAiDE focuses on 3 main areas to improve education outcomes in Ghana:

  1. How curriculum content is distributed
  2. Evidence-based decision making
  3. Human resource management.

To address challenges tied to these areas, our flagship innovation is a small device called the ASANKA: a low-cost, low-powered, durable learning management system that connects offline learners to local content for free.

By sharing learning content over Wi-Fi without accessing the internet, ASANKA saves on data and internet charges and schools can provide blended learning experiences for their students so that schooling is free from interruption.

ASANKA also tracks attendance of students and teachers by gathering analytics that can be shared with school stakeholders when coupled with an ASANKA Cloud Account.

An ASANKA device and box.
An ASANKA device and box.
An ASANKA device.
An ASANKA device.

Increasing access to quality educational content

ASANKA is currently being used by over 400,000 students annually in Ghana (over 20 areas), The Gambia and Haiti. There has also been uptake at the government level, with education authorities and institutions in Africa making efforts to integrate ASANKA into future education projects.

Being awarded the AU Innovation Expo prize allowed us an exciting opportunity to showcase the potential of ASANKA, and we hope to expand its use across other African countries through increased awareness and global partners within the year.

Our more long-term goal is to create a platform wherein local publishers can upload their education content to ASANKA to offer them an additional distribution channel and increase their access to ‘hard-to-reach' students.

We believe the ASANKA store could spur local competition for educational content, thereby promoting more diverse and quality educational content, increasing what is available to schools and families and positively impacting student outcomes in turn.


Read other blogs in this series

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