The Star of Anlo Land

NEWS AND UPDATE

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Release free SHS grant; we're suffering - CHASS

The delayed payment of the Free SHS grant for the third term of the 2017/2018 academic year is creating serious financial challenges for Second-cycle ...schools across the country, the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools(CHASS) has bemoaned.The delayed payment of the Free SHS grant for the third term of the 2017/2018 academic year is creating serious financial challenges for Second-cycle schools across the country, the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools(CHASS) has bemoaned.
A letter dated 28th May, 2018 to the Secretariat and sighted by Kasapafmonline.com said no tranche has been released yet, despite spending the first half(7wks) of the scheduled period for this term(14wks). "We are in the seventh(7th) week of re-opening and we are required to spend fourteen(14) weeks in school this term and yet no school has received any grant from the Free SHS Secretariat yet." the letter signed by National President of CHASS, Victor Yanney partly read.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has said a total of GH 484million has, as of May 23, been spent on the free Senior High School (SHS) programme. An earlier statement signed by the Head of Public Relations Unit, Ekow Vincent Assafuah, said it was providing all the necessary logistics needed for the smooth implementation of the free SHS programme and other important initiatives geared towards fostering quality education.

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GES to revise academic timetable over COVID-19 outbreak

The Ghana Education Service has assured parents and students that it will revise the academic timetable following the disruption of academic work in the wake ... of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus. The education sector has been severely impacted by the outbreak as all schools have closed down and students sent home. Globally, over one billion students are home due to the outbreak.
Major exams like the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the Basic Education Certificate have also been suspended as a result. But the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Professor Kwasi Opoku Amankwa said a team had been assigned to ensure that learning activities are conducted through virtual platforms with a new timetable for an uninterrupted learning process.
He also added that the education service is looking into various options for a revised timetable which will be based on the time schools will be cleared to reopen. "The next important thing that we need to be thinking about whether in the short, medium or long term, is that the students will have to go back to school. The team is also working to ensure that by the time school reopens, we have an idea about how we go about the timetabling but it will all depend on the exigencies of the time. We have to look at various timetable options that could exist and the various scenarios," he said.
SHS 3 students asked to go home Until last week, final year SHS and JHS students were still going to school, although their juniors were directed to go home. The government was of the view that these two groups of people were to be kept in school as they prepare to write their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
But following concerns raised by teacher unions over the continuous stay of the students in the school and the suspension of the 2020 edition of the WASSCE by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), the Ghana Education Service directed that their classes should be on hold.
"Management of GES after consultations with the relevant bodies hereby directs that all final year students in the Senior High Schools should be allowed to go home immediately, until further notice," the GES said.

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Satellites to protect the world, if data is open to all

Satellite technologies are a new frontier in global development.
Once a luxury of governments alone, from the late 1990s satellites began to be privatised and now satellites of all sizes are shooting into orbit. ...The benefits for the world's poorest, and for the planet, could be boundless, as long as their data is open to all. Rita R. Colwell, a distinguished environmental microbiologist, was one of the first to harness the power of satellite sensing data and imagery for public health. Her pioneering work led to massive reductions in cholera rates and could help protect the world from the next coronavirus outbreak.
In much the same way that experts have warned of the need for regulatory and legal frameworks to safeguard populations from abuses of artificial technology and big data, there are those who are concerned about governments and corporations monitoring populations via satellites.
And there is an added potential hazard for the global South: demand for new minerals and resources to build satellites. Mining for crucial materials, such as aluminium, of which bauxite ore is a primary source, could place vulnerable communities and indigenous land rights at risk.
But civil society organisations and individuals are harnessing the technology in innovative ways, making it harder for countries to hide human rights abuses from the world. The 'democratisation' of the data coming from the skies could be a win for communities in lower-income settings.
So, can satellite technology deliver the boost for development that it promises? In this Spotlight, we consider whether satellites can help governments meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, in this crucial decade for development.
Satellites are being used for everything from monitoring illegal fishing to tracking malaria, from supporting early warning systems in flood-prone nations to measuring crop yields and giving farmers advice on fertilisers.
The use of space technology to facilitate forestry, agriculture and disaster resilience could eclipse the efficacy of non-space options, according to forecasts.
And the Africa Regional Data Cube, launched two years ago in five countries, is making the vast quantities of earth observation data freely accessible, while minimising the specialist knowledge needed to use it.
We take a look at how invasive weeds and pests are being combated in Asia using satellite imagery. Noxious and insidious weeds, such as crop-destroying parthenium, can be heart-breaking for farmers. But getting an aerial perspective of invasion patterns could change everything.
Nomadic communities in Africa are using space technology and mobile phone networks to go where the water is and avoid violent conflicts in the Sahel related to climate change and food insecurity.
In Latin America, where countries are moving ahead with their own satellite design and construction, satellites are being recruited to monitor volcanoes, map heat islands in mega-cities, and predict floods and fires. Furthermore, satellites are helping communities recover from the destruction of wars and natural disasters.
Applying satellite technology is not without its challenges: satellites are unevenly distributed among countries, meaning the poorest are reliant on being granted access; locating and educating remote and nomadic communities is no easy task; and programmes designed to combat development challenges can struggle to collect the reference data needed.
Intermediary services and infrastructure will have a large role to play in the successful application of satellite data.
As the world faces the unprecedented challenge of dealing with COVID-19, researchers are working on models using satellite data that one day may help analysts predict pandemic outbreaks. Beyond that, whether satellites can fulfil their development potential will rely on their becoming the truly democratic tool they promise to be.



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Netflix Releases Documentary Features and Series on YouTube for Free, Including Our Planet

Netflix's move comes as the coronavirus outbreak has forced educational institutions to shut down. Netflix said on Friday it had made some documentary features and series, including Our ...Planet and Explained, available on the company's YouTube channel for free at the request of teachers.The move comes as the coronavirus outbreak has forced educational institutions to shut down, and confined millions of students to their homes, compelling schools and colleges to tap virtual tools to keep the classes running.
The decision to make some content free on YouTube is a rare exception to Netflix's marketing strategy, which otherwise charges a monthly subscription fee from users to avail its services.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has driven an internet boom, boosting shares of Netflix, the company faces tightening competition from Apple TV+ and Disney+, which has attracted more than 50 million paid users globally.
"For many years, Netflix has allowed teachers to screen documentaries in their classrooms. However, this isn't possible with schools closed," the company said in a blog post titled 'Responding to teachers' requests for access to documentaries', explaining the move. " So at their request, we have made a selection of our documentary features and series available on the Netflix US YouTube channel," "Each title also has educational resources available, which can be used by both students and teachers - and we'll be doing Q&As with some of the creators behind these projects so that students can hear from them first-hand...
We hope this will, in a small way, help teachers around the world... Note these documentaries are currently available in English. Subtitles in more than a dozen languages will be available later this week. Also if you are a parent or teacher, please check the ratings so that you can make informed choices for your students and children," the blog adds.

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GES Adopts E-learning To Provide Lessons

The closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country has affected the academic calendar while school children from primary level to the tertiary level remain at home and awaiting ...President Nana Akufo-Addo to lift the restrictions for academic work to continue. The West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) have also been suspended in 5 of the countries that the examination is held, that's Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia. However, in order to keep academic activities ongoing and ensure students are actively learning in their various homes, the GES has adopted measures to bridge the gap. Speaking in an interview on Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo', Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Dr Kwabena Bempah Tandoh disclosed that the Education Service is embarking on an online learning where students in both public and private schools can be engaged. He told host Kwami Sefa Kayi that the Service has opened a website www.icampusgh.com where students can log in with their particulars and find learning materials as well as get interactive with teachers across the nation. Noting that about 90,000 people have already logged into the website, Dr. Bempah Tandoh expounded that the website will enable the students to achieve the same goal they would have if they were physically present in their classrooms. He also revealed that apart from using electronic means of teaching and learning, the GES is also using traditional means and that beginning on Tuesday, 5th May, 2020, lessons will also be held on both Television and radio for school children in the comfort of their homes. He said parents and their children can now watch Ghana Learning TV on GTV, GO TV, DSTV while the GES engages more TV networks in the country to assist their initiative.

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Private School Teachers Disappointed In Govt Over Neglect

TThe coalition of Concern Private School Teachers Ghana (COPSTEG) says it is disappointed in President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for failing to factor teachers into the Coronavirus budget. ... In a release, leadership for the group said, government has continuously ignored the plight of private school teachers in its policy intervention and has done same in this season of the lockdown.
According to the release, COPSTEG is saddened by the development although it considers the lockdown directive a crucial. "But one thing the government or the President failed to ask is how are these teachers going to survive since our major source of income is the small salary we receive and this salary also comes from the small school and the feeding fee our employers take from the Parents." However, COPSTEG called on the government to do the needful.
Read the full statement below. Coalition for Concern Private School Teachers Ghana - COPSTEG Non-Payment of Private School Teachers Salary. The coalition of Concern Private School Teachers Ghana (COPSTEG) is expressing its disappointment in the government and the Education Ministry for neglecting them in this trying times as the government pretends such people do not exist.
On the 16th March 2020, teachers wake up one morning to hear in the news that President Nana Addo has directed all schools be closed down due to the COVID 19 pandemic which is spreading across the country. We believe that it's a call in the right direction since most of the students are likely to be infected by this virus. But one thing the President failed to ask is how are these teachers going to survive since our major source of income is the small salary we receive and this salary also comes from the small school and the feeding fee our employers take from the Parents. As a result, most of the schools are unable to pay their staff which has to put our members into starvation.
But as we speak, government has paid all public school teachers leaving the private school teachers. Even though we are not employed by the government, the president should at least put some measures in place to see to it that we those in the private schools are also paid.
We have waited patiently, thinking that the president in his last address will mention a package for we private school teachers but nothing of that sought happened. So, for God's sake what have we done to the government? We ask, is it that government does not realize our contribution to the education sector.
We are therefore calling on the President to:
1. Liaise with Private school owners to release some incentives for private school teachers if salaries can't be paid between April and June.
2. Put measures in place to ensure that 2/3 of private school teachers' salary passes through the controller.
3. Employ some of the teachers who are currently at home doing nothing to support sensitise the campaign against the spread of COVID 19.
Signed.
Sir I.B. Chambas
Acting National President.
COPSTEG