iREAD Final School Selection
By Zev Lowe
Worldreader.org chose schools with the generous assistance of Ghana Education Service (GES). Unlike other pilot projects that had worked with GES in the past, we were determined not to gravitate towards flagship schools in Accra. Quite the opposite, we were looking for schools that were outside the capital, and that would give us insight into the largest number of schools for eventual large-scale roll-out.
Along with GES, we developed the following selection criteria for schools:
• Average schools (not flagship schools in Accra)
• Good gender balance (about 50/50, or more girls than boys)
• Adequate infrastructure – electricity and mobile network (GSM) access
• Teachers and administrators who were interested and motivated to participate in the pilot study
We had previously conducted a proof-of-concept trial in Ayenyah, located in the Eastern Region of Ghana. As such, GES suggested that we might want to continue working in the same region. The Eastern Region is adjacent to the Greater Accra Region, and so while the schools would be reasonably rural, they would still be easily within a day trip of Accra. The area encompassed by the schools we selected is located in the blue box in the map of Ghana above (a larger version of that area map is shown below).
Dr. Nana Banchie Darkwah, the Ministry of Education liaison to our team, shortlisted nine schools with the aid of GES – five Senior High Schools and four Junior High Schools. We conducted visits to these schools between May and August of 2010, eventually choosing the following schools based on the criteria above:
- Kade Presbyterian Junior High School (JHS), District- Kwaebibirem, Has electricity and one computer.
- Kade Secondary Technical Senior High School (SHS), District- Kwaebibirem, Has electricity, internet and one computer. 1,300 students total, over 2 campuses.
- Adeiso Presbyterian Junior High School (JHS), District- West Akim, Has electricity and one computer with dial-up Internet. GSM Internet available.
- Adeiso Presbyterian Senior High School (SHS), District- West Akim, Located on the same campus, adjacent to Adeiso Presbyterian JHS.
Please note: Many Ghanaian schools are named after churches – Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran. Despite the use of these ecumenical names, Ghanaian schools have been secular for many years and are run by the Ghanaian government.
The schools selected for the i-READ Pilot Study are located on the Accra – Tumasi highway. Location “A” is Accra, and the blue arrow points to Ayenyah, where we conducted our first proof-of-concept trial of e-readers in a Ghanaian classroom.