New reading materials have been developed in 11 formally approved Ghanaian languages for use by Kindergarten (KG 2) and Primary (P1) pupils in public schools in the country.
The reading materials, aimed at improving reading among pupils at the early grade levels of education, will be made available for use in public schools across the country at the beginning of the 2017/2018 academic year, which starts in September this year.
A team of about 45 language experts, comprising writers, illustrators and reviewers drawn from various parts of the country spent about eight weeks at a workshop in Tamale to develop the reading materials in the Ghanaian languages.
The languages are Ewe, Ga, Hausa, Dagbani, Gonja, Fanti, Kokomba, Akuapem, Asante, Bono and Adangbe.
The reading materials will be validated this month by another group of experts after which they will be printed and distributed to more than 6,000 schools in 100 targeted districts across the country to be used from the 2017/2018 academic year.
The initiative formed part of the Ghana Partnership for Education project being implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES), to improve the reading achievement and the quality of reading instruction in early grade.
The initiative currently being piloted in the Dagbani language in the Yendi Municipality in the Northern Region where overall reading progress for Primary One jumped from three per cent of children reading words to 64 per cent while pupil improved letter sound knowledge from three words per minutes to 16 words per minutes within two and half months.
At the closing ceremony of the workshop in Tamale recently, the Executive Director of the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT), Dr Paul Opoku-Mensah, said the initiative was aimed at developing materials for early childhood education in the country targeting about 1.1 million children.
He noted that lack of reading materials at early grade had been a challenge in the school system and, therefore, the development of the materials would go a long way to transform education in the country.
The Northern Regional Director of Education, Alhaji Mohammed Haroon, in a speech read on his behalf by the Head of the Inspectorate Unit of the Regional Education Directorate, Alhaji Mohammed Seidu Issah Abah, commended stakeholders for their efforts to come out with such educational materials for the younger generation to enable them to read and write in their local dialects.
He said it would help improve reading among early grades in schools across the country.