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Research funding win to improve education in Africa

Four Ghanaian children (three boys and one girl) are sitting in a large pink play car. They're smiling and one of the boys is holding a tablet.A research project which takes a play-based approach to learning to improve education in early years education in Africa, has received $500,000 CAD in funding. Led by Kwame Akyeampong, Professor of Education and Development in the WELS School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport (ECYS), the project won a highly competitive bid from Right to Play (RTP), a global organisation based in Canada which seeks to promote the use of play in improving learning for children. The research team will support the Partners in Play project in Ghana, which uses play to re-imagine learning by placing emphasis on physical, social, emotional, cognitive and creative skills in the teaching and learning process.

Professor Akyeampong and his team, Dr Eric Addae-Kyeremeh, Dr Jane Cullen and Dr Helen Hendry (all from ECYS) will work in collaboration with researchers from the Institute of Education University of Cape Coast, Ghana. They aim to improve the quality of education for Ghanaian girls and boys aged 4-12 through a scalable and replicable Learn Through Play (LtP) model. The project will reach almost 690,000 children, representing three levels of intervention across three regions in Ghana. An additional 2.5 million children in Ghana will benefit from LtP over the next four years.

They will produce evidence to facilitate discussion and learning regarding the project’s best practices among beneficiaries, community members, RTP staff, and institutional stakeholders. The research will also provide evidence to inform future policy on quality education in Ghanaian schools.

Professor Akyeampong said: “This grant offers us a unique opportunity to contribute to the global research on learning through play. Not much of this research has been the subject of large-scale study in the sub-Saharan Africa context which makes winning this grant so important for The Open University. It is also a recognition of the expertise in early years learning in Africa at The Open University”.


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