Let’s consider mono desks for basic schools – Speakers advocate

Speakers at a stakeholder dialogue in Accra yesterday called on the government to formulate and implement a policy on the use of mono desks in all basic schools in the country.

That, they said, was to help promote a conducive classroom environment for effective teaching and learning at the basic level.

Moreover, the speakers said the use of mono desks, instead of dual desks, would also ensure social distancing to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.

The speakers include the Technical Advisor of Youth Empowerment for Life, (YEfL) Ghana, Mr Alhassan Abdul-Ganiyu; the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Mr Kofi Asare and the Equality Programme and Influencing Lead of Oxfam in Ghana, Mr Mohammed Mahamud.

The one-day stakeholder programme on promoting the use of mono desks in Ghana’s basic schools, is being attended by representatives of the Ministry of Education and other advocacy organisations.

Challenge

In a presentation, Mr Abdul-Ganiyu said the challenges with dual desks were crowded students on the same desk for over six hours in a day, poor sitting posture, difficult to transport, not child friendly, not conducive for the management of communicable diseases and difficulty in classroom mobility and management.

He noted that there was the need for the promotion of quality supply of school infrastructure to deprived areas in the country, as well as ensure an enabling environment for healthy, competitive and independent learning at the basic level.

In addition, Mr Abdul-Ganiyu said there was the need for the government to “introduce more innovative and child friendly, easy to move, transportable and packable furniture that promote interactive classroom learning”.

He indicated that government should also reconsider the size of the current classrooms to promote the application of learner-centred interactions during the teaching and learning process.

Benefits

Mr Asare said if the country was to derive the full benefits of the new curriculum, then it had to come with the change in teaching method to a participatory learner environment. 

“You cannot have that in a rigid environment where we don’t have flexible dual desks.

So we have all envisioned that since there has been implementation of this curriculum, its implementation will also come out with gradual fading of the dual desks.

At least, whenever a new school is being constructed,” he said.

He charged the government to begin planning to build bigger classrooms to accommodate the mono desks so that gradually, the new schools would fit into the new system.


Mr Mahamud supported the call for mono desks to be used at the basic educational level since, according to him, it would ensure the free movement of teachers in the classrooms.

For him, the use of mono desks would be in line with the reforms of the educational system.

Education ministry

Responding to the comments of the speakers, the Project Architect of the Funds and Procurement Management Unit at the Ministry of Education, Mr Samuel Antwi, said the ministry supplied both dual and the mono desks to primary and second cycle schools. 

He said the mono desks discussion should be in coherence with the classroom space.

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