Making Ghanaian Girls Great! – Interactive distance learning to improve education access

By Michaela Garberg


Photo by Varkey Foundation, borrowed from the Malala Fund blog.

It has been known for quite some time now that improved educational opportunities for girls have a tremendous impact on entire societies. It has been said that “To educate a girl is to educate a nation”, and while this might be a slight overstatement, there is a lot of evidence showing the benefits of education for girls especially.

Such benefits include overall increased GDP as well as these girls marrying later and having fewer and healthier children who will be better educated. (If you would like to read more on the importance of girls’ education, you can read Chernor Bah’s article in the Guardian here.)

Within the field of international development, among others, social media and ICTs have been widely praised as levelers which will serve a democratic function, allowing more people from different parts of society and the world, to make their voices heard. Concerns have however also been raised concerning who are actually being “allowed” to make their voices heard due to differences in knowledge and status etc. (See for example Manning, 2012). The digital divide (Singhal et al, 2005) is also posing a major obstacle when access to information technologies are very unevenly distributed across populations.

Disregarding concerns about unequal access, it seems clear that ICTs are becoming crucial instruments to master, for a competitive global workforce, for international communication and for development efforts. Kleine (2010) has argued that ICTs can affect for example educational resources and enhance education opportunities. And the step to involve ICTs and/or social media in education doesn’t seem far-fetched.

Even though involving social media such as Twitter in education (Bertram, 2013) in Ghana doesn’t seem very likely in the near future, the country now has its first interactive distance learning project; Making Ghanaian Girls Great! (MGCubed), initiated by the Varkey Foundation. The project provides interactive Math and English classes for underprivileged students in 72 different rural schools, broadcasted in specially equipped classrooms geared by solar power and run by teachers at the head office in Accra. The project also includes an after-school program called Wonder Women! for in-school and out-of-school girls together which is run by strong female role-models and covers topics such as leadership, girls’ rights, health and financial literacy.

Through the use of cutting edge technology, such as solar-powered computers and projectors, and multi-media content the project aims to achieve teaching efficiency, improved teaching methods and the opportunity to reach more students and especially students in remote areas with lacking educational opportunities.

Margit Böck discusses a Pedagogy for inclusion as highly relevant to the academic field of Communication Studies. She argues that “It ideally results in the linking-up of an individual to other possibilities of life and to the expansion of the potentials for action” (Böck, 2007:77), and when a girl got up after a discussion about choosing a career at a Wonder Women session and proclaimed; “Madame, I thought I couldn’t do anything, but now I think I can do something with my life.” it seems like we are getting there, one child at a time.



Bertram, S. & Katti, M. (2013). The social biology professor: Effective strategies for social media engagement. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution, 6: 22-31, 2013.

Böck, M. (2007). Reducing communicative inequalities towards a pedagogy for inclusion. In Cammaerts, B. & Carpentier, N. (2007). Reclaiming the Media. Communication Rights and Democratic Media Roles.

Kleine, D. (2010). ICT4WHAT? – Using the Choice Framework to Operationalise the Capabilitiy Approach to Development. Journal of International Development, 22: 674-692, 2010.

Manning, R. (2012). International Development in the Blogosphere (Working paper).

Singhal, A., Svenkerud, P., Malaviya, P., Rogers, E. & Krishna, V. (2005). Bridging digital divides. Lessons learned from the IT initiatives of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. In Hemer, O. & Tufte, T. (2005). Media and Glocal Change. Rethinking Communication for Development. Buenos Aires: CLACSO.

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  1. It is very encouraging to see that an online course in a developing country has been prepared specifically for female students: i.e. Making Ghanaian Girls Great. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are becoming more and more popular, not only in developing countries but also in those countries from the Global North that benefit from High Quality education which consequently comes with a High Price Tag. Other things to consider are the security concerns which have been recently raised regarding the usage of private data. Feel free to browse this recent article:

    • Michaela Garberg

      Thanks for the comment and the recommended article, Gianni! It was an interesting read which relates even more to my post about big data in education. Privacy issues are of highest concern, and as has been pointed out by Taylor and Schroeder in Is bigger better? legislation is usually lagging behind in LMICs (low and middle income countries), such as Ghana and Kenya, which leaves citizens vulnerable to data gathering and usage.

  2. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work.