Sunny Varkey, Founder, Varkey Foundation
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Making Ghanaian Girls Great! (MGCubed)
Making Ghanaian Girls Great! (MGCubed)
The Varkey Foundation’s ‘Making Ghanaian Girls Great’ (MGCubed) project uses innovative satellite-enabled technology to deliver quality education to marginalised students in Ghana and successfully address some of the country’s key education challenges. Declining numbers of teachers combined with a rapidly increasing school population has contributed to a country-wide shortage of high quality teachers, which disproportionately impacts on the poorer, rural regions of Ghana where we also see a greater number of pupils never entering school (36%) or dropping out (27%) (UNICEF, 2015). This proven approach has significant potential to be scaled up across sub-Saharan Africa to help the pressing need of access to quality teaching in the most disadvantaged areas, reaching the most marginalised pupils.
Since March 2014, the Project has been operating the only live, synchronous, interactive distance learning programme in sub-Saharan Africa. With the support of DFID’s Girls’ Education Challenge, MGCubed employs a radically different approach to giving students and teachers access to quality education.
The Project equips classrooms in remote government schools with satellite-enabled, solar-powered technology. Qualified Trainers are located in studios in the capital region and deliver live, interactive lessons in Maths, English and gender empowerment to the remote classrooms.
The objective of the intervention is to positively impact learning outcomes in Maths and English and promote retention of girls in school.
MGCubed has proven that this innovative approach can lead to overcoming critical education barriers such as:
- enhancing the quality of instruction within schools to promote and embed student- centered learning in the classroom;
- combating at community level, cultural values about girls’ educational potential;
- empowering girls through enhanced self-esteem, including self-conceptualisation and self-belief, and improving peer-to-peer relationships;
- facilitating safe, supportive gender-equitable learning environments.
The MGCubed Project uses solar-powered and satellite-enabled distance learning infrastructure to deliver interactive learning sessions to students, teachers, communities and government officials. The Project’s main objectives are to improve the literacy and numeracy learning outcomes of beneficiaries; support them to transition from primary to secondary schools; and ensure the sustainability of the impact made. MGCubed also aims to address the challenges of teacher quality, teacher absenteeism, and poor student learning.Impact
MGCubed lessons have been shown to lead to major learning gains in both Maths and English. MGCubed girls' fluency in English progresses at a rate of between 30-35% faster than other pupils; while improvements in Maths scores are 2.5 times the effect seen in similar interventions. This confirms that exposure to quality teaching through the interactive satellite enabled distance learning Maths and English lessons has a significant effect on pupils’ performance. 22% of Out of School Girls who participated in afterschool clubs have now returned to school. MGCubed girls are more likely to take on leadership positionsScalability
The MGCubed Project impacted over 36,000 pupils in the past 3 years and aims at increasing its reach to over 18,000 primary, Junior High school and out of school girls in the next four years. The programme has also impacted: 88 schools & communities and has trained and certified 932 instructional leaders.