General Primary Education
General primary education stands for providing education to young children: Kindergarten (KG), lower primary (LP) and upper primary (UP). In comparison to other parts of the world, this general primary education lags behind in the developing countries. The majority of the children therefore miss the chances and opportunities to develop themselves, make choices and create perspective for their future. Education is therefore essential for the development of a country. A society will be able to change and come to full development, when its members have access to qualitatively good education. To reach this, a country must be able to integrate all educational related factors and aspects into one education policy.
This is not easy for developing countries, where people are confronted with numerous problems to survive on a daily basis. It appears that the confrontation with the daily problems distracts the attention from organising qualitatively good education for future generations. The challenge for a developing country is to continuously set the link between the problems with which residents are confronted and the role that qualitatively good education can provide.
Founded in 1995, the AMO Programme is a local NGO in Ghana, West Africa. The AMO Programme is based on the UNESCO Education for All (EFA) movement. AMO aims to ensure the quality of education and to guarantee excellence for all. This way everyone may attain recognised and measurable learning outcomes; in particularly regarding reading and writing, counting and arithmetic and essential capabilities for the future. Effective learning results require effective educational systems, broadly trained teachers and applicable educational TLMs. The AMO Programme contributes to the quality improvement of education in Ghana, by producing TLMs for primary education and training teachers in the use of these materials.
Teaching-learning materials (TLMs)
After studying primary school children, Edgar Dale concluded that people generally remember the most of what they ‘do’. Therefore it is essential that children not only read, hear, see, say and write what they need to learn, but also are involved in doing. Especially for children, experiencing through playing is a good way of learning. Through puzzling, building, identifying, combining, arranging, sorting and playing, children come in contact with the basics of numeracy, literacy, creativity, problem solving and moral values. TLMs in general primary education therefore play a key-role in the development of a country.
“What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand.” Confucius
All the AMO TLMs are developed in line with the curriculum of the Ghanaian basic education (KG, LP and UP). Next to this all materials are developed on the basis of ‘learning while playing/experiencing’. In general the AMO TLMs aim to:
- Develop hand-eye coordination; especially the younger child (KG & LP)
- Develop spatial perception
- Let children learn while discovering (one their own or together)
- Develop social skills/impulse to working in groups
- Create a variety in learning situations
- Be used in interdisciplinary applications
Next to this AMO TLMs have the following benefits:
- Children experience fun while learning
- Children get intrinsic motivation while using the materials
- Improvement of learning ability
AMO currently produces 23 different TLMs designed for Ghanaian KG and Primary education. Every product has its own unique features which enable students to learn and develop different types of skills. The products are mostly made from local wood and are painted in fresh colours. The catalogue of TLMs is constantly being updated, mainly by input and suggestions from teachers in Ghana. Every set of TLMs is sold with manuals. The manuals can be used by buyers as a reminder on how to use the materials or as an aid for further training of (new) personnel in the use of AMO TLMs.
For a teacher to introduce TLMs in the lessons, a paradigm shift is needed. Traditional Ghanaian education could be described as teacher-centred education. With the TLMs a shift is made towards child-centred education. Training of teachers in the use of TLMs is very important because the benefits only become evident when teachers know how to work with them. Therefore, next to selling TLMs, AMO also offers Teacher Training, which can be done on location (see the page Training).