General News Sun, 22 Feb 2004

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Bad English blamed for poor results

Cape Coast, Feb. 22, GNA - The Reverend Professor Emmanuel Obeng, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), said on Friday that the inability to read and understand examination questions resulted in poor results in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) and the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

He said, "the challenge confronting the nation now, is how best teachers and parents can inculcate the habit of reading in children to ensure that it becomes part and parcel of their daily activities to improve their vocabulary and reading capabilities".

Rev. Prof. Obeng, stated these, at Cape Coast when he launched a 38-page reading scheme book for Junior Secondary Schools titled "My Reading Track Record," written by Mr Daniel Thompson, Language Co-ordinator of the Cape Coast Municipal Directorate of Education.

"Whether we like it or not, the English language is the official language of this country and we need to know it to be able to communicate ideas effectively," he said.

The Vice Chancellor pointed out that reading difficulties had been categorised into three, neurological, emotional and environment and said, "although the teacher may not be able to do much to change the first two factors, they can in partnership with parents/guardians tremendously improve the third.

Rev. Prof Obeng observed that several reading schemes had been suggested in the last four decades to enable the reader "Derive the fun and also to learn" and described the book as a "bold attempt, since it combines the three processes of " bottom-up, top down and interactive method".

He stressed the need to make reading books available to children at all levels of education, adding that, they must be encouraged to make the right choice of books, for both serious learning and enjoyment. Rev Prof Obeng commended Mr Thompson's book, which he said educates children in the use of dictionaries and observed that such skills were often neglected and said dictionaries were inseparable from good reading skills.

Ms Veronica Fry-Annan, Municipal Director of Education, appealed to parents and teachers to encourage children to use the book. Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, Omanhene of the Oguaa Traditional Area, appealed to schoolchildren to cultivate the habit of reading. He expressed concern about the falling standard of education and asked them to learn harder to take up responsible positions in the country in future.

The first copy was auctioned for one million cedis, at the ceremony presided over by the Reverend Professor Samuel Adjepong, Principal of the Methodist University.

Source: GNA

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