The USAID Partnership for Education (Learning) will soon roll out a programme to encourage reading using local languages in 110 districts throughout the country.
The programme, targeted at Kindergarten Two and Primary Two pupils, is aimed at encouraging the children to read and improve learning outcomes.
For this reason, USAID is supporting the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) to improve learning outcomes for the period 2017 to 2019.
Already, the programme is being implemented in the Dagbani Language in 20 schools in the Yendi municipality in the Northern Region.
Purpose of the meeting
At a breakfast meeting in Accra yesterday, officials of the USAID Partnership for Education and the GES said the meeting was organised to identify synergies and opportunities to help address the challenges affecting students from learning in the country.
The public/private partnership (PPP) efforts are part of a strategic plan to ensure the sustainability of reading and reading outcomes through the support of influential stakeholders such as the media and private enterprises.
Early Grading assessment
According to the 2014 and 2015 Early Grading assessment, 50 per cent of Ghanaian children in Primary Grade Two struggle to read a single word.
The programme in the 110 districts is targeted at 1.1 million children within the two-year period and it is the hope of the partners that the media and other stakeholders have the potential of changing the poor reading habit in the country.
Under the slogan: “Learn to read, Read to learn”, the partners are encouraging all Ghanaians with the resources to help ignite the reading passion in the child “and you would have set them on the course of learning with ease in order to discover the world around them”.
Commitment of GES
Speaking at the media engagement yesterday, Mr Samuel Ntow of the GES reiterated the commitment of the service to deliver quality education to all children of school age.
He expressed concern over the fact that reading was not encouraged in the country, including schools, resulting in poor education outcomes.
Mr Ntow expressed appreciation to USAID for partnering the government to promote reading and comprehension.
National Day of Reading
He said it was encouraging that the project had targeted local languages in the early years of schooling before the children were introduced to other languages.
For this reason, he said, there were plans to introduce a National Day of Reading for schools in the country, while teacher education and curriculum development was being restructured to produce the necessary textbooks and quality teachers for quality education delivery in the country.
The Chief of Party, Learning of the USAID, Ms Adama Jehanfo, said the agency had been involved in other activities in education, such as the provision of school buildings and access, but it had been recognised that reading was a key component of quality education.
Objective of the USAID
She said the objective of the USAID in the programme was to use key partners, such as the media, to send messages to parents and opinion leaders in the communities that good reading habits among pupils impacted on education.
The essence, she said, was to help all key partners to support reading and support what she called “a movement or agenda for reading”.
Ms Jehanfo said it was necessary to change learning outcomes, not only at the basic level but also the university level, to change the situation in Ghana and for the country to continue to be the leader in Africa.
During an open interaction that was moderated by Mrs Norkor Duah, the Managing Director of Lintas/Lowe and communications specialist, media practitioners raised issues with the sustainability of the programme at the end of the two-year period and whether there were enough teachers to teach local languages in the 110 districts.