Government initiates project to promote reading proficiency in primary four

By Kodjo Adams

Mamfe (E/R), Feb 12, GNA – The Ministry of Education has rolled out an initiative to ensure 90 per cent reading proficiency in primary four.

The initiative christened: “Communities of Excellence Programme (CEP)”, seeks to build a strong network of highly literate communities across the country where no child is left behind in accessing education.

Under the programme, adaptive learning ecosystems are developed within districts and communities to provide all school-going children with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, tools, and equitable opportunities to reach their full learning potential.

The programme is led by the Ghana Education Service and facilitated by Transforming Teaching, Education, and Learning with funding from the Jacobs Foundation.

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education, who launched the initiative in Mamfe in the Eastern Region, said the government was committed to providing the necessary support to improve teaching and learning.

“We want to make sure that every child will read in Ghana by the age of four. We have begun the process of supporting teachers, bringing in literacy coaches, and educating chiefs, community leaders, Assembly members, and opinion leaders to focus on how to improve teaching and learning,” he said.

The World Bank, to improve educational outcomes, launched a project called “Learning Poverty”, which measures the reading proficiency of students in primary four at age 10.

The Minister said around the world, about 87 per cent of students in developing countries cannot read, including Ghana, adding that the CEP was to address the deficiency in reading in basic schools.

He said the programme would be implemented in 700 communities across the country, describing the initiative as “a watershed moment to transform the country’s socio-economic development”.

The programme outcome, the Minister stated, was to ensure 90 per cent of pupils demonstrated foundational learning competencies in English, Mathematics, and socio-emotional development.

The participating schools are expected to demonstrate improved leadership and management.

He said the government had constructed new STEM schools across the country, including Accra High School and Abomosu, to compete with the rest of the world.

He said the government had made strides in investment in education, leading to increase in school enrolment and learning outcomes.

Dr Adutwum said the introduction of the free Senior High School in 2017 had increased admission from over 800,000 students to over 1.4 million students.

The interventions, he stressed, had led to improvements in the West African Senior Secondary Examinations test scores, of which the average performance improved from 38.73 per cent in 2006 to 69.73 per cent in 2023.

Nana Ansah Sasraku III, Mamfehene, commended the government for the initiative and lauded the Minister’s enthusiasm and passion for education, describing the initiative as “the foundation to holistic development”.

He expressed satisfaction about the Minister’s enthusiasm and passion for improving educational learning outcomes, calling on all and sundry to support the project to succeed.

Nana Sasraku III, urged the government and stakeholders to develop ways to address the menstrual problems faced by female students since some of them were unable to attend school during such periods.

He urged the government to withdraw taxes on sanitary pads to make it more affordable and accessible for female students to attend school regularly.

The Chief appealed to corporate institutions to help make sanitary pads free for pupils and students at the basic level to achieve the government’s agenda of not leaving any child behind in education.