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USAID, Education Ministry collaborate to improve reading in rural schools

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is partnering with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) to improve the reading achievement and quality of reading instruction in early grades.

The intervention focuses on teaching kindergarten (KG2), primary (P1) and primary (P2) pupils the building blocks of reading: letter recognition, sounding letters, decoding and forming words, building vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

The objective of the intervention is to train teachers to apply the “phonemic” approach within classes and provide continuous coaching and support using teachers’ guides and books for pupils.

As part of the intervention, the MoE began implementing the “phonemic” approach in the Yendi Municipality in January, 2017, to improve basic literacy skills and promote reading among pupils in public primary schools in rural areas.

The intervention is being prototyped in the Dagbanli Language in the Yendi Municipality with the intention to include 11 more local languages and an English reading programme.

Overall reading progress for P1 jumped from three percent of children reading words to 64 per cent whiles pupils improved letter sound knowledge from three words per minute to 16 words per minute within two and half months of the implementation of the intervention in the Yendi Municipality.

Mr Andrew Karas, USAID Mission Director, who visited two beneficiary primary schools in the Yendi Municipality to observe the progress of the intervention, expressed the commitment of USAID to ensure that all children in the country read with fluency and comprehension.

Schools visited were Balogu and R.C Primary at Yendi.

Mr Karas said the intervention is making great strides adding that “we are improving school management systems, ensuring teachers and pupils have adequate reading materials, training teachers, promoting reading in communities, introducing new, more effective approaches to teaching.”

Madam Barbara Ayisi-Archer, Deputy Minister of Education, said the use of the mother tongue is important and urged teachers to use the mother tongue at the lower primary level to improve the ability of children to grasp lessons.

She said using the mother tongue in the initial phase would help children to better transition to the English Language.

The Ghana News Agency understands the progress made at Yendi will help develop materials for an additional 10 GES-approved Ghanaian Languages to expand the programme to 100 targeted districts from the 2017/2018 school year.

Source: GNA