Technology fear factors must be addressed

Technology is an enabler of education, but its fear factors that must be addressed. The Education Ministers of Kenya and Ghana met to discuss how Edtech can promote learning at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.


The Education Ministers of Kenya and Ghana met to discuss how Edtech can promote learning

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The Minister of Education for Ghana, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, met onstage with with the Kenyan Minister of Education, Armina Mohamed to talk about how Edtech can enable access to education and promote social and learning impact in a session entitled ‘What can politicians do to accelerate Edtech?’

Mr Prempeh opened the debate, saying that technology was now imperative for learning, but governments have a lot of work to do in order to lessen the “fear factors” of technology.

He said that equipping teachers with technology knowledge, was imperative as in the modern world we increasingly find ourselves in the situation where, technology-wise, the students know more that the teachers. He also discussed fear in terms of cyber bullying, fraud and exposing children to inappropriate information.

Mr Prempah called technology “the great leveller” and praised how it allowed students in rural areas the chance to learn remotely. He did however stress the online learning was not to the standard it should be regarding quality assurance.

He also reiterated that although technology was a great help, it could never replace a human teacher and that is imperative that all those engaging in remote learning have someone to guide and guard them to ensure that they move ahead successfully.

Ms Mohammed said technology was a huge boon considering that the student to teacher ratio was low. She said technology helped strike a balance, but it was important to use the technology already available – and that that technology have set parameters.

She spoke of a programme running in Kenya where students were introduced to tablets from grade one and stressed the importance of using technology to empower students, and make sure they were ready for the 21st century.

The panellists agreed that technology provided a useful platform for discussions and creating dialogue that people might not want to have face to face. In terms of providing technology to poorer areas, both ministers broached the subject of privatising education – or at least some aspects of it to increase the possibilities of this happening. This created an audience debate, which led Mr Prempah to expound on the difference between private companies that operate for profit and those who do not.




  1. The Varkey Foundation believes every child deserves a vibrant, stimulating learning environment that awakens and supports their full potential. We believe nothing is more important to achieving this than the passion and quality of teachers. We founded the Global Teacher Prize to shine a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world and we continue to play a leading role in influencing education debates on the status of teachers around the world.
  2. The Top 50 shortlisted teachers were narrowed down to the final Top 10 teachers by a Prize Committee. The winner will then be chosen from these Top 10 finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy. The Prize Committee and the Academy look for evidence that applicants for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize meet the following criteria: 
  • Employing effective instructional practices that are replicable and scalable to influence the quality of education globally.
  • Employing innovative instructional practices that address the particular challenges of the school, community or country and which have shown sufficient evidence to suggest they could be effective in addressing such challenges in a new way.
  • Achieving demonstrable student learning outcomes in the classroom.
  • Impact in the community beyond the classroom that provide unique and distinguished models of excellence for the teaching profession and others.
  • Helping children become global citizens through providing them with a values-based education that equips them for a world where they will potentially live, work and socialise with people from many different nationalities, cultures and religions.
  • Improving the teaching profession through helping to raise the bar of teaching, sharing best practice, and helping colleagues overcome any challenges they face in their school.
  • Teacher recognition from governments, national teaching organisations, head-teachers, colleagues, members of the wider community or pupils.
  1. The Global Teacher Prize Academy includes prominent names such as Wendy Kopp, co-founder and CEO of Teach for All; Brett Wigdortz, founder of Teach First, James E Ryan, Dean and Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education, United States, Jeffrey D. Sachs, world-renowned professor of economics and special advisor to the UN and Lewis Pugh, the only person to have completed a long distance swim in every ocean of the world.
  2. The Global Teacher Prize winner will be paid the prize money in equal installments over ten years, and the Varkey Foundation will provide the winner with financial counseling. Without compromising their work in the classroom, the winner will be asked to serve as a global ambassador for the Varkey Foundation, attending public events and speaking in public forums about improving the prestige of the teaching profession.
  3. The prize is open to currently working teachers who teach children that are in compulsory schooling, or are between the ages of five and eighteen. Teachers who teach children age 4+ in an Early Years government-recognised curriculum are also eligible, as are teachers who teach on a part-time basis, and teachers of online courses. Teachers must spend at least 10 hours per week teaching children and plan to remain in the profession for the next 5 years. It is open to teachers in every kind of school and, subject to local laws, in every country in the world. Applications for the 2019 prize opened on Wednesday 6 June 2018 and closed on 23 September 2018 with teachers able to apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. 
  1. PwC will be responsible for ensuring that the balloting process is fair and accurate.  Criminal record and other background checks will be conducted on the shortlisted candidates. Top ten finalists from Global Teacher Prize 2018 could not apply for Global Teacher Prize 2019.
  2. The Global Teacher Prize is part of the Varkey Foundation’s long-standing commitment to improve the status of teachers.  In November 2013, the foundation published the Global Teacher Status Index, the first attempt to compare attitudes towards teachers in 21 countries.  The index found that there were significant differences between the status of teachers worldwide. The survey also found that in many countries, between a third and half of parents would “probably” or “definitely not” encourage their children to enter the teaching profession. In November 2018 the Varkey Foundation revisited the theme and widened its scope, polling over 40,000 people in 35 countries. The Global Teacher Status Index 2018 showed for the first time a direct link between teacher status and pupil performance as measured by PISA scores. Countries with higher teacher status are more likely to record higher PISA scores, the report demonstrated, showing high teacher status can lead to greater student outcomes in a country. The full Global Teacher Status Indexes can be found at:


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