The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is to support 2.8 million school children in the country in its bid to promote reading habits among an estimated target of 100 million in Africa.
The investment is valued at $ 71million over five years to be implemented by a non -governmental organization (NGO), FHI360 and other partners.
Book package to schools
A total of 4.2 books are to be distributed from January next year among 13,828 kindergartens and 14, 405 primary schools in the 216 districts of the country.
A representative of the USAID, Nana Osei Akumia announced this at the Volta Region reading festival sponsored by the USAID with the collaboration of the Ministry of Education at Ho.
Nana Akumia said the books have been selected based on the advice of experts at the Ministry of Education and tertiary institutions and therefore called on all stakeholders to support the endeavor towards improving reading proficiency among Ghanaian children.
In an address, the Chief of Party (COP) of “Learning” Activity of USAID, Dr Kafui Etsey said the activity was an integrated project designed to support child literacy improvement activities implemented by the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and other affiliated institutions.
She said the activity which will cover children from kindergarten level to primary three is expected to stimulate children’s interest in reading at the early stages to enhance their reading and learning abilities as well as to stimulate the interest of teachers, parents and the community to support early grade reading in both Ghanaian languages and English.
“We as teachers , parents and members of our communities have the greatest responsibility of helping children to learn to read and read to learn in order to help their personal development in particular and the development of Ghana a whole”, she stated.
Effect of poor reading habit on examination results
In a speech read on her behalf, the Volta Regional Minister, Ms Helen Adjoa Ntoso said the results of examinations were found to be poor because the fundamentals of reading and comprehension were missing and certainly not the best for the development of the nation.
She therefore commended the USAID for launching the festival because it was a roll out of practical intervention in schools to rekindle the love for reading in children and to make them addicted to reading so that they could have a smoother climb up on the academic ladder.
Ms Ntoso said the festival should serve as a reminder of the centrality of reading to the education of children and to build the culture of reading in them.
In an address, the Volta Reads Project Coordinator at the regional education office, Mr Bright Dey said an assessment of reading habits revealed that only two out of 100 pupils could read and that several interventions had been applied to reverse the gloomy situation and to carry reading to a higher level.
In a welcome address, the acting Volta Regional director of Ghana Education Service(GES), Mr Alexander Mawusi said many pupils were unable to read and comprehend due to factors such as unfriendly and outmoded methods of teaching and the lack of interest on the part of some parents.
He therefore said the reading festival had come at the appropriate time and that it marked the beginning of change in the lives of children of the region and the entire nation.
Mr Buadi commended the USAID for presenting a brand new Toyota Hilux pick up to the regional education directorate and said it could not have come at a better time as the office had been facing the challenge of inadequate vehicles.
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