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By Anthony Kwaku Amoah
Background and rationale
Management of the Ghana Education Service (GES) has, from time immemorial, been lauding development partners and donors for their support to education service delivery in Ghana.
The roll call of partners of our nation’s education is a long one, including DFID, IBIS-Ghana, DANIDA, unicef, UNESCO and GNECC. For now, the spotlight for applause settles on the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Partnership for Education: Learning.
As we speak, the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) collaborates with Dr Guitele Nicoleau’s FH1 360 (Implementation strategy in support of Education Decentralisation) and support from USAID to organise a public lecture as part of a series of advocacy and awareness-creating activities on Education Decentralisation on June 6, this year at Moevenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra.
The USAID Partnership for Education: Learning, also called Learning for short, has been supporting the Ministry of Education (MOE) and GES to improve reading habits among pupils. It targets to increase reading skills of about 2.8 million primary pupils by 2019 as it also works to improve basic education policies and management systems for sustained learning outcomes.
Learning strengthens the capacity of parents, schools and local authorities in improving the reading habit of students. It appreciates that the promotion of reading in Ghanaian languages and English depends on teachers, schools, parents and stakeholders and so the need for it to also be a part of these variables.
Learning supplies readers to schools
Learning has procured 4,230,000 supplementary readers for distribution to public schools from kindergarten to primary class 3 in all of the 216 districts.
The supplementary readers are written in 10 out of the 11 ‘official’ Ghanaian languages and English as per MOE/GES standards. The eleventh language, Nzema, is not included in the titles of the readers because we are told the submissions made by publishers of the books did not meet the assessment criteria.
Training programmes are, however, being put together for publishers of Ghanaian languages, including Nzema on how to produce appropriate materials for pupils.
Meanwhile, a total of 64 books of different languages with varied titles, such as English in 23 titles, Gonja 4 titles, Kasem 2 titles, Ga 3, Fante 6, Ewe 5, Akwapim Twi 7, Asante Twi 4, Dagaare 4, Dagbani 4 and Dangbe 2 from kindergarten one to primary 3 have so far been distributed to the beneficiary districts. About 28,500 plastic water-proof boxes with locks have been procured to store the books. These boxes, bright orange in colour and which have locks for safe keeping, shall be placed in each classroom for easy access and use by pupils and teachers.
Learning to launch distribution of readers
A national launch for distribution of the books to all schools is being planned with MoE, GES, USA Embassy, USAID and Learning to happen in Accra soon. Stakeholders, including parents, teachers, universities, colleges of education, development partners, traditional leaders, publishers and corporate bodies are expected to be in attendance.
Learning hopes to supply all regional offices of the Ghana Library Authority and beef up the stocks in Mobile Library Vans with its readers so as to ensure that children can have easy access to the materials for study. I have had the opportunity to attend a lot of reading clinics, spelling contests and seminars organised by Learning and I think they deserve the praise and motivation to continue to do more for the Ghanaian child.
The writer is an educationist and public relations officer of Ghana Education Service.
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