Submitted by Agbenyo John Stephen on Thursday, 15th March, 2012 — News item
A one day workshop on Change Management has been organised by Savana Signatures for educational workers in the Tamale and the Savelugu District in the Northern Region. The workshop was targeted at teachers, head teachers, circuit supervisors, officials from the Northern Regional Education Office, Tamale Metropolitan Education Office and the Savelugu District Education Office.
In his welcome address to the participants, the Director of Savana Signatures, Mr. John Stephen Agbenyo mentioned that Savana Signatures has this year started a new project called the Integration of ICTs in Education Project (IIEP). The project, he mentioned will use ICT tools to Enhance School Administration and Teaching and Learning in 20 schools in 5 districts in Northern Ghana through capacity building and resourcing with the specific aim of improving the performance of school administrators in collecting and managing school based data as well as building the capacity of teachers to effectively use ICT tools to enhance the teaching and learning process in the classroom.
He stated that Savana Signatures has signed an MoU with the Tamale Metropolitan Education Office and the Savelugu District Education Office to implement this project and that the project had already started with 3 pilot schools; Darul Hardis Islamic Junior High School in Tamale, Yoo Roman Catholic Junior High School in Savelugu and Pong Tamale D/A Primary School in Pong Tamale. He mentioned that the Change Management Workshop was part of the series of activities and programs within the IIEP.
He added that the change management workshop was important because it aimed at reassessing and reinforcing top management engagement in ICT activities which are seen to be critical in sustaining the mainstreaming of ICTs into education. He outlined the objectives of the workshop as:
i) To improve participants understanding of both the project and organizational goals of the Integration of ICTs in Education Project
ii) To enable participants to appreciate the major challenges faced in mainstreaming of ICT projects and activities
iii) To strengthen participants’ own commitment to ICT activities in their schools
iv) To offer participants skills and ideas on how to secure similar commitments from others.
A facilitator at the workshop, Patricia Fafa Formadi, Director for Women and Development Project (WADEP) explained that change happens at all times and the most important influence of change is the current situation. She added that in dealing with change, it is important to consider all human issues to be able to effect change. She said that change is often influenced by factors such as Denial, Reaction, Acceptance and Action.
She explained the process of effecting change with a diagram consisting of three major stages. The first stage being information stage where awareness must be created about the change to be effected, the second which involves education to bring about understanding of the change and the third being the commitment where people now would accept and use change for their benefit.
On the phases of change, Madam Patricia outlined three issues; unfreezing, moving and refreezing. With unfreezing, she explained that change does not occur in a vacuum and that there is always an old way of doing some thing which must give way to the new ways in other for change to occur. On the other hand, the individual begins to accept the idea of change thus resulting in the moving stage. During this stage guidance is vital as the change process is still based on perception and feelings. The third phase which is refreezing is the period when the change now has a bearing on the individual or group, that is, they now reap the fruits of change. Madam Patricia added that, there have often been problems with change because of underground resistance, honest opponents, emigrants, missionaries and believers. She concluded by urging participants to use the reservation of other team members to work for the change.
Speaking on Problems of Change, Mr. Norbert Apentibadek, a Program Officer at the Association for Church Development Projects (ACDEP) said, perception is one major problem of change. He added that most people would resist change because of organisational culture, power, conflicts and resistance to change. To overcome resistance to change and change problems, Mr. Apentibadek added that communication is very important in alleviating people’s fear to change. In the integration of ICT in Education project for instance, he said the Head teachers and teachers of the schools have a responsibility to explain to the Ghana Eduction Service (GES) and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) the essence of ICT in education. He urged participants to use evidence of change to convince others to see the need for change since change is for the better. Speaking on ‘commitment to change’, he urged participants to create positive perception about the new idea and also inform stakeholders about the impact the change would have on them.
Relating to the wheel of change, participants observed that change is not a one time activity nor can it be forced on leaders or the led but that it is a process which require information and education to get members’ commitment to achieve the desired change. Participants were grateful to Savana Signatures for organising such a workshop to enlighten and empower them.