Opinion: Ghana @ 63, Struggles with Illiteracy

Background

As Ghana marks its 63rd Republic Day, the question most people ask today remains if the country deserves a “hurray” for the milestone attained. Though we still have numerous setbacks, we must sincerely thank the almighty God for how far He has brought us as a nation amidst the troubles and diseases outbreaks in neighbouring countries. In reflection, this was the day that the country Ghana has totally weaned itself from the British Colonial Rule and the contribution of all the Senior Citizens of this country who played significant roles in the struggle for freedom and nation building especially in the field of education are saluted today. It was all joy how 63 years ago, Ghana marked this event with profound historical and political significance and we continue to remember this freedom every March, 6th in different stunning ways.

However, we must be quick to add that, our beloved nation still faces challenges such as corruption, unemployment, diseases, severe poverty, lack of social amenities, lawlessness, child labour, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, chieftaincy disputes, armed-robbery, illiteracy, poor and inadequate infrastructure and libraries etc. Education has been said to be the bedrock of every society since it relies on the transfer of information that is aimed at changing behaviour yet at 63, Ghana still struggles with most of the basic amenities that could facilitate a comprehensive education.

Most school pupils cannot read and write and since the reading materials in most of our public schools are limited. Three to six pupils are likely to be seen sharing the same reading materials though UNESCO recommended One Pupil, One Textbook as the best way forward.

Most Ghanaian school pupils cannot read either in their L1 (first language) or L2 (second language) yet it has been generally agreed that reading guarantees good learning habits and a child who cannot read is not likely to do well in the subjects that requires in-depth reading. Most pupils do not benefit from lessons taught at school as a result of not understanding English Language which is mostly used as the medium of instruction at school.

In an interview with Mr. Mathias Tulasi, the Chief Executive Officer of Literacy Ambassadors Ghana (LAG), a Non-Governmental Literacy Organisation, interested in developing the habit of reading in Pupils has said it has become necessary for all stakeholders to join forces in order to reduce illiteracy among Ghanaians. He said there is a misconception that schools are responsible for Literacy that is why any literacy challenge of a child is attributed to the inefficiency of the teacher, adding that “a broad range of actors from parents, peers and health services shape literacy development especially parents attitude and literacy practices have a very significant influence on their children's literacy development throughout school”. Mr Tulasi said it has never been too late to do anything about literacy problems after children finish primary school since thousands of children enter secondary school with reading problems but with specialized support, these young ones can develop good literacy skills. “Everyone who struggles with reading and writing could develop adequate literacy skills when given the right and needed support”, he said.

He said as Ghana celebrates its 63rd Republic Day, all stakeholders have to do their best in promoting reading culture among students because a reading nation is a winning nation.

Recomendation

Government must therefore, make the supply of textbooks on the Standard-Based Curriculum to schools a topmost priority so that every pupil can have access to a textbook during the teaching and learning process. Our libraries have to be revived by stocking them with good and extremely interesting books by Ghanaian Authors. Ghana at 63, reducing illiteracy through reading promotion should be the way forward because we need to raise more avid readers as a country and thereby reducing illiteracy.

Source:ghfactsonline.com

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