Peace Corps Volunteers to help build education sector

Accra- Thirty-three Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) from the United States of America would be deployed across the country to support Ghana’s education sector and contribute to the development of students at various levels.

The Volunteers, would be working in Junior and Senior High Schools, including schools for Deaf, in various parts of Ghana over the next two years.

The Peace Corps volunteers would be sharing technical knowledge and skills as well as represent American Ideals, while also learning from Ghanaian cultural values.

Swearing-in the new Volunteers after a 10-week training at a ceremony in Accra on Thursday, Mr Christopher J. Lamora, Charge D’Affaires of the US Embassy Ghana, urged the Volunteers to emulate and look to the example of their predecessors who left a ‘golden legacy’ in Ghana.

He said the former PCVs, some of whom were present at the ceremony, had directly impacted the lives of those they worked with as well as those who benefitted indirectly.

So commit yourself to leaving your own positive legacy. How do you want to be remembered after you leave? Your name may well be remembered by the communities you serve decades from now, through the impact of your work and as a representative of your country, he stated.

Mr. Lamora said Peace Corps had been at the Centre of the United States’ commitment to Ghana’s development through advancing improvements in health, education, agriculture and other areas, since the first PCVs came to Ghana in 1961.

He also urged Peace Corps to take advantage of the opportunity they have, as volunteers, to build personal ties of friendship and closeness with; while living and working in Ghanaian communities.

Twenty-one of the PCVs will teach mathematics in Junior High Schools, five will teach science in Senior High Schools and seven will teach special education and visual arts, while working with Ghanaian teachers to develop teaching resource manuals and establish science resource centres, laboratories and art studios.

Mr. Gordon Brown, the Ghana Country Director of Peace Corps, who is also a returned PCV who served in Niger, said the volunteers represents the best that the United States had to offer.

He noted that the PCVs held undergraduate degrees in Mathematics, Engineering, Social Sciences, Biology and Neuroscience.

Others also hold graduate degrees in Deaf Instruction, Cell and Molecular Biology as well as Criminal Justice, while one of them is a doctoral candidate in Adult Education.

Despite the diversity of their backgrounds, one characteristic that they all share in common is their commitment to serve Ghana, he said.

Mr. Brown said the volunteers would also take back what they learn from Ghana and other places where they serve and represent that in the United States.

The volunteers, many of who, serve a various levels of public office such as Congress, are now better able to reflect what it means to serve peace and something greater than them.

Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, commended the PCVs for accepting to serve in remote parts of Ghana, especially at a time when Ghana was implementing reforms to its educational sector in a bid to better equip children with the skills needed to contribute to nation building.

He urged them to live beyond reproach in their various communities and to further strengthen the bond of partnership between the two countries.

Reflecting on their expectations of and their experience in the first 10-week that they have been in Ghana, in an interview with the GNA, some of the volunteers expressed excitement at the hospitality with which they had been received, saying, it had surpassed what they had heard about the Ghanaian hospital before their arrival.

Ms. Danielle Ohemeng, whose parents are Ghanaians, but was born in America, and will be teaching maths at a JHS in the Volta Region, said it had been an eye-opening experience so far.

Mr. Adam Fultz, will be teaching Chemistry and Physics at SHS level in the Eastern Region, said he expect to be able to cover more materials in his work than in the US, which would present unique opportunities to discuss interesting scientific concepts.

I have travelled a lot, but Ghana is one of the few places that when you come, everyone is welcoming and saying hello, noted Ms. Pooja-Accamma Somaiah, adding that, the greeting was something they would have to get used to.

Mr. Evan Wilson, who will be teaching Science at a SHS in the Eastern Region, said he will be helping to develop teaching paradigms focused more on critical thinking instead on the rote form of learning that Ghana is accustomed to, as well as fostering curiosity rather strict discipline.

Getting students to think about why an answer is correct rather than just accepting the answer as right. We want to push them to be curious and ask questions instead of just accepting answers as the only way to learn, he stated.

Source: Ghana News Agency