The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has partnered with the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) to promote reading among children from Kindergarten (KG) to primary three. USAID deems very important the role effective reading plays in the child’s learning process. It therefore seeks to support 100 million children to read globally in a projected dubbed: “Read To Learn.”
Madam Shonnon R. Howard, a representative of USAID, announced this at the national launch of the organization’s Reading Festival in Wa. She disclosed that 2.8 million children would be supported in Ghana for the next five years in 216 districts under the programme, to help improve the reading proficiency of Ghanaian children in both their mother tongues and the English language at the KG and the lower primary.
A total of 11 Ghanaian languages have been selected in the partnership. Madam Howard said key areas the partnership would be investing into would be the training of 51,000 teachers to help with the necessary skills in assisting children to read. It would also help revitalize curriculum, equip and empower managers of education, monitoring and evaluation, effective testing and assessment system and student participation.
Dr. Guitele Nicoleau, Chief of Party; USAID Partnership for Education, said the aim of the festival was to awaken the interest of reading in children and to also showcase books written in both local and the English languages.
USAID would provide 4.2 million reading books to 28,233 children in both Kindergarten and the lower primary. This is a direct support to the government of Ghana’s programme “Ghana Reading Action Plan” (G-RAP), which will help increase access to reading material to children and develop their reading skills to strengthen their ability to learn.
Mr. Nelson Aborigia, Upper West Regional Director of Education, said effective reading helped comprehension and stimulation of learning, pointing out that the wrong spelling of words in messages in mobile devices was a testimony to falling standards in education.
He said even though the programme would provide reading and learning materials to all districts in the region, it would focus more on five districts, namely, Wa West, Nandom, Lawra, Wa East and Wa Municipal Assembly. Mr. Issahaku Nuhu Putiaha, the Wa Municipal Chief Executive in a speech read on behalf of Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Upper West Regional Minister, said the programme came at an opportune time where standards of education in Ghana were falling.
He said the government was already implementing some educational programmes to improve standards in education, and expressed government’s appreciation to USAID for complementing its educational development efforts to enhance quality education. Mr. Nuhu also appealed to parents and guardians to desist from child labour in the region and rather take keen interest in their wards’ education.