The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is partnering World Vision International Ghana, to begin the KOICA Unlock Literacy project for schools in the Afram Plains South District of the Eastern Region.
The KOICA-World Vision Unlock Literacy project is said to become an evidence-based approach and a holistic intervention tailored to increase the number of children learning to read in the first years of primary education, and a key for retention and further educational progress.
The project is said to last for three years and should ensure that pupils from Kindergarten 2 to Primary 3, will be made to participate in after school reading sessions, while parents will be sensitized to provide learning support at home.
The project is expected to train personnel of the District Education Directorate, by offering instructional coaching for teachers, train teachers to improve their skills, provide books for classrooms and set up community library boxes.
Speaking at the official launch, the Country Director of KOICA, Mr. Yukyum Kim, said literacy unlocks human potential and it is the footing for every country’s development.
He explained that in this ever increasingly complex and rapidly changing technological world, it is imperative for children to be equipped right from the primary level with literacy and numeracy skills so that they can keep up with the pace of the changing times.
He added that when children are equipped with the requisite reading, writing and basic numeracy skills, it helps to empower them and broaden their horizons.
Mr. Yukyum said, it is their hope that KOICA’s cooperation in the educational sector, will help to create a literate world and promote literacy for all, particularly children to obtain basic education and literacy skills essential for creating effective learning outcomes.
The Integrated Programmes Director of World Vision International Ghana, Mr. Richard Okai, said the launch of the KOICA Literacy Project is not only appropriate but also timely, because it comes at a time when reading levels across schools in the district was low.
He said in 2015, Ghana conducted the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA), with the results revealing that only two per cent of primary two children can read with comprehension.
In the Eastern Region, 98 per cent of children in primary two could not identify a single letter’s sound in the Akuapem Twi language.
Mr. Okai said the Unlock Literacy project is going to support government’s programme of using the mother language to help children breakthrough in literacy.
He explained that, several research findings have underscored the fact that when children learn in the first language, they are able to do well in the second language.
The Afram Plains South District Coordinating Director, Mr. Mohammed Mumuni said according to a World Bank report,125 million children around the world are not acquiring functional literacy or numeracy, even after spending at least four years in school.
In addition, it said millions complete primary education without acquiring the basic competencies needed for further learning.
Mr. Mumuni said to prepare young people to meet future challenges, the education system has been undergoing a wide-range of reforms, including the development of a new curriculum which will start implementation this September.
He charged the District Education Directorate to be proactive and document the process, so that any teacher who comes to the district even after the three years of the project, would understand the key concepts of the project, since it would become the standard operating procedure in Afram Plains South.
The Afram Plains South District Education Director, Mr. Edwin Ofosu Kwakye, said developing literacy skills in the early years is crucial to a child’s success in school and later in life.
He indicated that literacy leads to better health, better employment opportunities, safer and more stable societies.