USAID promoting early education reading skills

USAID/Ghana Mission Director, Sharon L. Cromer

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has stepped up its efforts towards early childcare education in the country with the launch of its end-line impact evaluation report, ‘Early Grade Reading programme.’

The initiative which is being pursued with the collaboration of the Ministry of Education, is hoped to improve early education reading skills, as one of the key partnerships between Ghana and the United States of America focused on promoting a quality education.

The ceremony which was witnessed by the Minister of Education, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh and USAID/Ghana Mission Director, Sharon L. Cromer, also coincided with the launch of the distribution and production of instructional materials for the Transition to English (T2E) activity.

USAID’s ‘Partnership for Education: Learning’ programme – also known as ‘Learning’ – has successfully advanced early grade reading for school children.

“With the support of USAID/Ghana, these much-awaited materials will also provide a rich reading environment in schools to ensure learners have access to books, which are critical to develop their reading skills,” a statement issued by the US Embassy noted.

In January this year, USAID and the Ghana Education Service (GES) sent over 88,000 newly validated English and Ghanaian Language materials to 230 schools in 19 districts across the country.

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The materials include Teacher Guides, Learner’s books, Supplementary Readers, and classroom materials as well as Alphabet Charts expected to benefit over 18,000 B1 to B3 learners.

These materials build upon nearly 3.1 million materials that were developed, printed, and distributed since the start of the 2017/2018 academic year.  In early January this year, 73 master trainers were trained in the use of the “Transition to English” reading materials.

They included training participants from the MoE; national, regional and district offices of the GES; and from colleges and universities.

In line with the programme, the master trainers then trained and supported more than 1,300 teachers, assistant headteachers, headteachers, curriculum leads, and circuit supervisors on the use of these materials and build their capacity to deliver engaging and effective reading lessons to improve children’s reading abilities.

USAID’s ‘Learning’ programme is a six-year activity that supports Ghana’s MoE, GES, and affiliated educational institutions to improve reading performance for early grade pupils in public primary schools.

Learning’s Early Grade Reading programme is aligned with USAID’s global goal of “all children reading,” which was implemented from December 2014 through September 2019 using local Ghanaian languages for instruction.

During the 2017-2019 academic years, more than 7,200 schools in 100 districts implemented the Early Grade Reading Program (EGRP) throughout 10 regions of Ghana.  More than 707,843 Kindergarten 2 and Primary 1 and 2 pupils benefited from the project, and over 51,000 teachers, Head Teachers and Curriculum Leads received high-quality instructional materials and training in innovative reading instruction methodology.

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The programme has also improved overall accountability by using a Fidelity of Implementation (FOI) system that monitored lessons using tablets and real-time data to improve teaching and learning in schools.

A Transition to English (T2E) programme is being implemented from October 2019 through September 2020 to demonstrate proof of concept in transferring reading skills from local languages to English.

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