Ghana has been ranked as the best among 12 other countries with class one pupils with good early reading abilities and identification of letter sounds.
The countries are Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kyrgyzstan, Tonga, Jordan and Liberia, Uganda, Mali, Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt.
Ghana’s ranking is contained in the midline report on a study on Early Grade Reading and Math (EGRM) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Ghana Partnership for Education Learning Activity.
The five-year programme, which started in 2015 and would end on September this year, is meant to help improve the reading skills and performance of basic school pupils in Mathematics.
It is being implemented in 7,200 basic schools in 100 districts across the country.
Under the programme, the USAID sponsored studies on the EGRM and Teacher Rationalisation, Retention and Language study and development of relevant teaching materials in a bid to promote quality education delivery in the country.
Speaking at an Education Research Forum in Accra yesterday to discuss the findings of the report, Chief of Party of Evaluating Systems, Monica Gadkari, whose organisation is evaluating the programme, said Ghanaian pupils in class one were doing better among the 12 aforementioned countries where USAID was supporting similar projects.
She said results from the EGRM impact evaluation showed a significant and positive improvement in primary student learning outcomes in reading and math.
Ms Gadkari said the studies found that pupils in schools benefiting from the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) performed better than their counterparts without the GSFP.
Among other recommendations, the Chief of Party of Evaluating Systems called for the GSFP to be implemented in all the basic schools across the country.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, in his remarks commended the USAID for its continuous support to Ghana to enhance quality education delivery in the country.
He said the findings of the study would help his outfit to make better decision to promote quality education in the country.
Dr Adutwum hinted that Ghana would in September this year begin a national assessment of pupils in public basic schools across the country on English and Mathematics.
He said the objective was to determine the weaknesses of the pupils of those subjects and initiate strategies to address, saying “we don’t have to wait for the people to complete basic school before access them.”
The Deputy Mission Director of USAID, Steven Hendrix commended the government for the inroads the country was making in quality education delivery.
He said education was key to harnessing the potentials of the citizens who would play key role in achieving the President’s agenda of Ghana beyond Aid.
Mr Hendrix said USAID would continue to support the Ministry of Education to conduct research to come out with relevant data to support evidence-based decision and policy making.
By Kingsley Asare