On 8 September 2017, International Literacy Day (ILD), UNESCO and World Vision Ghana staff joined schoolchildren, teachers and community members of Dwenase – a rural community in the Fanteakwa District of the Eastern Region in Ghana – to celebrate ILD 2017 and mark the beginning of a new collaboration between UNESCO and World Vision Ghana to improve the quality of basic education.
With this year’s ILD focusing on literacy in a digital world, the event took place in Fanteakwa District, one of the two districts benefiting from World Vision’s flagship Digital Library Project. This project seeks to improve literacy among schoolchildren, with a particular focus on girls.
In Ghana, although more children enroll in school, the pace of improvement in learning outcomes has been slow. Recent learning assessment reports indicate that many schoolchildren are failing to acquire the appropriate competency levels in literacy. The 2015 Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) showed that by the end of Primary 2 level, the majority of public school pupils could not read with comprehension – whether in the Ghanaian language or English. Of the pupils assessed in each language, just 2% or less were able to read with fluency and comprehension.
To address this, UNESCO and World Vision are developing a joint project that will complement national efforts to improve the quality of education at the basic school level. This joint celebration was therefore a springboard for future collaborative interventions by the two organizations.
The ILD celebration gathered over 300 participants at the local community centre and included various educative drama performances by the schoolchildren, highlighting the importance of literacy. Prosper Kwasi Nyavor, National Programme Officer for Education at the UNESCO Accra Office, shared UNESCO Director-General’s message on the need to leverage the advancement in technology to improve literacy levels in the world.
UNESCO and World Vision Ghana will be organizing a brainstorming session in the first quarter of 2018 to solidify the new joint endeavor and to conceptualize the implementation of a joint project at national level.