Improving Child Literacy
The cost of illiteracy anywhere is enormous. In Ghana, formal education, in general has seen a rise in enrolment across the country. According to a UNICEF report, quality as benchmarked by the number of students who actually pass exams at the basic level, indicates a weakness in the educational sector. The link between a child’s ability to read and a child’s academic success is symbiotic (Owusu Acheaw, 2014).
Across sub Saharan Africa, the positive outcomes for development have been greatly catalysed by education, yet indicators project that an alarming percentage of children are unable to read after six (6) years of primary education. It was estimated by a 2014 research finding, that only 2% of Primary 2 pupils in basic schools could read and understand English or any Ghanaian language properly (CitiFM Report, 2014). Improved library access and services have shown a direct link to improved literacy in children (USAID Africa Report, 2012).
According to the Ghana Education Service, there are two types of school libraries: box libraries, where books are kept in a box in the classroom and brought out during library time for students use, and rooms dedicated for libraries where students are able to sit in the traditional library setting to read.
The current state of school libraries in Ghana leave much to be desired. The Ghana Education Service estimates, indicate about a total of 14,112 primary schools and 8,818 Junior High Schools across the country. However, it is unclear how many of these schools have access to proper functional libraries.
Functional libraries are essential to learning. It is estimated by the Ghana Living Standards Survey number 6, that households spending on education is low on books and other educational supplies. This indicates that there is a lack of investment in books and other supplies necessary for academic success.
The link between literacy and improved livelihood outcomes is very clear. Harnessing and consolidating the gains made by current and future developmental advancement, requires a better literate society, capable of being trained to the highest levels of competencies for economic gain. To improve reading and learning, efforts must be targeted and strategically applied.
By providing functional libraries and technology based interactive learning child literacy will improve across board for all children in spite of their learning capabilities. Together with our implementing partners, The Royal Commonwealth Society, the Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Library Authority, other development partners and the private sector we will undertake the following;
• Provide 20 eco-friendly functional libraries in twenty communities across Ghana by 2020.
• Enable interactive learning through the use of technology.