USAID project improves reading amongst pupils

By
Albert Futukpor, GNA

Yendi (N/R), Sept. 22, GNA – Reading among
pupils in kindergarten two, primary grades one and two in 20 underperforming
schools in the Yendi Municipality has improved significantly resulting in a
strong education foundation necessary for academic achievement.

Pupils in the 20 selected schools benefited
from the Dagbani Language Prototype programme piloted in the municipality as
part of the Ghana Partnership for Education project (Learning).

The project is being implemented by the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the
Ministry of Education (MoE) to improve the reading achievement and the quality
of reading instruction in early grades.

After six months of programme implementation
from January, 2017, early grade assessment results showed that decoding skills
increased by 52 per cent, oral reading fluency increased from zero to 16 words
per minute, and listening comprehension results increased by 26 per cent.

National assessments in 2013 and 2015 showed
that 50 per cent of children in primary grade two struggled with reading, and
only two per cent was able to read at grade level with comprehension.

USAID, therefore, partnered with the MoE to
identify a phonics-based reading instruction approach to improve reading
achievement scores.

The MoE then developed the Dagbani Language
Prototype programme which focused on teaching the building blocks of reading,
including letter recognition and sounds, decoding, vocabulary, fluency and
comprehension through instructional materials and teacher training courses.

Dr Guitele Nicoleau, Chief of Party of USAID
Learning, who spoke at a ceremony at Yendi on Thursday to celebrate the success
achieved under the Dagbani Language Prototype programme, said in view of the
success achieved, the programme had been extended to 100 districts across the
country and offered in 11 official national languages.”

At the ceremony, some of the beneficiary
pupils proved to the participants what they were learning in class by fluently
reading a number of texts in Dagbanli.

Dr Nicoleau said “the programme enhanced the
ability of 38,000 teachers in over 7,200 schools to improve reading achievement
results for 1.1 million kindergarten two, primary grades one and two pupils
during the 2018-2019 academic year”.

She said the USAID Learning project has
developed reading materials in 11 official national languages including
Dagbanli, Gonja, Asante, Ewe, Ga, and Nzema for use by schools in the 100
districts across the country to improve the reading achievement and the quality
of reading instruction in early grades.

Dr James Dobson, USAID Education Office
Director, said the beneficiary pupils were better placed to benefit from the
Free Senior High School programme because their education foundation was strong
and this would enable them to climb the academic ladder.

Alhaji Mohammed Haroun, Northern Regional
Director of Education appealed to USAID to extend and expand the Learning
project to replicate the success across the country for improved education
outcome.

GNA

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