Wheelock College Awarded USAID Planning Grant to Partner with Teacher Training Program in Ghana

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A Wheelock team will head to the West African nation this summer to assess early childhood education programs.

Wheelock's core mission has long been to improve the lives of children and families

A team of Wheelock College professors will head to Ghana's University of Education, Winneba this summer to collaborate with the West African university on an assessment of early childhood teacher training capacity in Ghana, thanks to a USAID planning grant.

Wheelock was one of just 20 U.S. institutions to receive the $50,000 Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative Planning Grant, which seeks to establish capacity-building partnerships between U.S. colleges and universities and higher education institutions in Sub-Saharan African nations. This grant is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Higher Education for Development (HED) office. Other recipients include Texas A&M University, The George Washington University and Tufts University.

"Wheelock's core mission has long been to improve the lives of children and families," Wheelock College President Jackie Jenkins-Scott said. "In today's increasingly global economy, it's more important than ever to carry out that mission not just in our own backyard, but anywhere on the globe where we can use our expertise to be of service."

Wheelock's experience, especially in the area of early childhood education, will be most welcome, according to Ghana Ministry of Education and Sports. The college's work in Ghana will address the nation's pre-school teacher shortage. Though pre-school is a part of Ghana's basic education system, effectively training teachers to staff the classrooms has historically been a challenge.

West Africa's AIDS crisis has also had devastating effects and is claiming teachers faster than they can be trained to enter the classroom. In 2005, an estimated 15 to 20 percent of Sub-Saharan African teachers died of AIDS, leaving more than 860,000 children without teachers.

In addition to Wheelock faculty travelling to Ghana to see teacher training programs firsthand, a team of Ghanaian professors will visit Wheelock over the summer to visit early childhood centers, attend professional development workshops and observe classroom instruction. Wheelock and University of Education, Winneba will use these exchanges to formulate a strategic plan for a long-term partnership that they hope will be funded by a subsequent grant.

About Wheelock College
Founded in 1888 and located in Boston, Mass., Wheelock College is a private institution with the public mission of improving the quality of life for children and their families. The College fulfills this mission by providing a strong education in the arts and sciences and in its professional fields - child and family studies, social work, and education -- for which its undergraduate and graduate programs are nationally and internationally recognized. Through its academic programs and student experience, the College reflects the multicultural dimensions of the countries in which it operates and fosters diverse learning communities -- all of which contribute to the success, leadership, and impact that its graduates enjoy in a wide variety of careers. For more information visit http://www.wheelock.edu.

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