The Unlock Literacy project, funded by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and implemented by World Vision, launched at Maame Krobo in Kwahu Afram Plains on 12 June 2019. The project spans a period of three years (2019-2021), and will reach 77 schools across seven circuits. The goal of the project is to help almost 10,000 girls and boys learn basic literacy skills.
Reading and writing is an integral part of every child's development, and can be a determining factor for whether a child is successful in the future. However, a 2015 report from the Ghana Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) revealed that 98 per cent of primary school children could not read at grade 2.
The Unlock Literacy project in Afram Plains aims to improve the reading abilities of children in the region, while empowering teachers, parents and community leaders to invest in the education of both male and female children.
A similar early grade reading programme intervention was implemented by World Vision, in partnership with KOICA, from March 2016 to December 2018 in the Fantekwa District of Ghana. Students in the programme significantly improved their ability to read and understand in English, the main language of instruction in schools. At the start of the project, only 1 per cent of sampled students could read with comprehension. After two years, 65 per cent of reading programme participants could do so compared to 40 per cent of their peers who had not yet participated. However, more work needs to be done to improve the literacy rates in other communities.
Unlock Literacy uses a unique approach to improve children’s core reading skills. In addition to supporting students in their language of instruction, the project also uses mother language as a medium to teach literacy, which aligns with Ghana’s Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service Mother Language Policy for primary education. This is based on the premise that children read better and faster when they start learning to read in their mother tongue, thus allowing them to learn a second language faster.
The country director of KOICA Ghana, Mr. Yukyum Kim, gave his remarks on KOICA’s position to ensure that education is an important part of development policies. According to him, “Education is a pre-requisite for economic growth and poverty eradication. As the Government of the Republic of Korea's premier development agency, we support the development of human resources through expanding opportunities for elementary, middle and high school-level education as well as vocational training and improving the quality of policies and systems of education in our partner countries.”
Also present to give a speech on behalf of the National Director of World Vision International, Ghana, was the Integrated Programme Director, Richard Okai, who spoke about the importance of education in World Vision’s mission. According to him, the organisation has built 150 school buildings across the country, over the past 40 years. However, access has not necessarily correlated to the quality of education that children receive.
As such, there is a goal to improve the quality of education, by working closely with KOICA to improve the capacity of teachers, community leaders and other stakeholders in achieving this great goal. Mr. Okai urged community members to take advantage of the programme, and thanked KOICA for their unwavering support over the years.
World Vision being a child focused, organisation with a vision for every child to receive life in all its fullness, will continue to be a trusted partner with KOICA, Ghana Education Service (GES) and the community. Paramount Chief of Maame Krobo, thanked KOICA and World Vision for their contribution to Afram Plains and encouragedcommunity members to take full ownership of the opportunity.
Teachers, children and community members all showed excitement at the prospect of having children that can read with comprehension.