Thursday, 18 April

We need sustainable development-oriented people to transform Africa – Adelaide Agyepong

The CEO of the American International School (AIS), Mrs Adelaide A. Siaw-Agyepong, addressing the audience at the 2023 edition of the Africa Development Conference

The CEO of the American International School (AIS), Mrs Adelaide A. Siaw-Agyepong, has observed that Africa needs people who are sustainable development oriented to transform the continent.

According to her, the changing world needs people who are analytical in view and poised in thoughts to make an impact on this world.

Speaking on the topic ‘Rising to Africa’s Education Challenges and Opportunities Post COVID-19 Pandemic’ at the 2023 edition of the Africa Development Conference organised by the African Caucus of the Kennedy School of Law and Harvard African Law Association, Mrs Siaw-Agyepong noted that the changing world does not need people who have mere knowledge and can regurgitate principles because the internet through multiple search engines can perform the same thing.

“We need persons who are aligned with sustainable development, responsible business conduct, and laced with humanity,” she noted. “Because knowledge that does not consider the survival of humanity and the generations to come is as treacherous as no knowledge.”

She explained that, as such “a wholistic education is needed and one that uses knowledge to solve everyday problems, recognising the survival of humanity as dependent on the survival of one and all and [thus] works towards improving our individual and collective lives.”

“The world needs people who are ready to learn unlearn and relearn,” she stressed.

Touching on how private schools in Ghana adapted and mobilised resources to aid teaching and learning in the educational sector during the COVID-19, Mrs Siaw-Agyepong observed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the private schools had to quickly adapt and mobilise resources to aid teaching and learning.

She added that most private schools created online learning platforms to provide students with access to learning materials and resources from home.

“These platforms often included features like video lectures, interactive quizzes, and virtual classroom discussions,” she added.

She also noted that private schools and educational companies provided students with learning materials like textbooks, workbooks, and worksheets to enable them to continue learning at home.

“Some also provided technology devices like laptops and tablets to students who did not have access to them,” she added.

During the period also, some private schools and educational companies provided training for their teachers to enable them to adapt to the new online learning environment.

This training often included how to use online teaching tools, how to conduct virtual classroom discussions, newsletters and how to provide feedback and assessments online to improve communication.

“Private schools and educational companies invested in technology to ensure that students had access to the necessary devices and internet connectivity. This often-included purchasing laptops, tablets, and other devices for students and providing internet connectivity to those who did not have it,” the CEO of the American International School pointed out.

Answering a question on what changes the AIS undertook to ensure that learning continued, she explained that, when it was becoming clearer that a lockdown was imminent, the AIS put in place a Covid-19 taskforce which brainstormed and discussed strategies to continue teaching and learning in case that happened.

“This reinforced what we believed already,” she said. “We believe students should take ownership of their learning.

“Hence, we constantly offer professional development to our teachers to deliver inquiry-based/ researched-based models of education. The combination of this and hybrid learning means we were ready to transition to an online classroom when needed.”

The Africa Development Conference is a student-led event that convenes academia, students, and practitioners to highlight and explore critical issues related to the African continent’s development.

This year’s edition took place between 15th and 16th April 2023, at the Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

The theme for this edition was ‘Reimagining Africa’s Growth on Our Terms’.

The Conference had panels, fireside chats, and keynote speeches on topics including; How Africa can thrive in international trade, Challenges and opportunities in transitioning to a green economy, The role of creative arts in development, The Africa we want, and other engaging topics.

Source: Benjamin