The Economist Foundation for which British Council is a partner has introduced a programme called ‘Global Conversations’. Ghana was among five countries from SSA selected by the regional team to take on-board this new programme.

The programme has been designed for students to have weekly one-hour lessons on topics around climate change and indeed, COVID-19. The weekly lessons are  led by a teacher and it is virtual. After each of the lessons, students will log on to to have discussions about the topic with other young people around the world.

Ghana selected an initial 7 schools from across 4 regions (Greater Accra, Ashanti, Bono and Eastern) to participate in the programme. These schools have enlisted over 80 students onto the programme. Since the official launch on April 20, students have been actively engaging in discussions with other young people around the world.

Overall, the lessons and online discussions will help develop news literacy skills; the skills people need to have meaningful discussions about current affairs. Key amongst these are scepticism (questioning information to find out the truth); Reasoning (justifying a viewpoint); Speaking up (confidently communicating a viewpoint); Open-mindedness (listening to other viewpoints)

The team has received tremendous amount of support from parents, some of whom have made available their smart phones and tablets to their kids for purposes of this programme. School leaders and teachers have also been very instrumental in this whole exercise. The programme runs for six weeks and the team recognises this initiative as one of the interventions for sustaining continuous engagement with young learners even as they remain at home.