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Approaches to Literacy in Ghana: The Challenges Faced. By Tijani Hamza (IBIS EFE Programme Director, Ghana)

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Presentation on theme: "Approaches to Literacy in Ghana: The Challenges Faced. By Tijani Hamza (IBIS EFE Programme Director, Ghana)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Approaches to Literacy in Ghana: The Challenges Faced. By Tijani Hamza (IBIS EFE Programme Director, Ghana)

2 PRESENTATION STRUCTURE 1.What is Literacy? 1.Why the Literacy Campaign? 2.Literacy Profile of Ghana & Implications. 3.Initial Approaches to Literacy in Ghana. 4.Current Approaches. 5.General Challenges

3 1. DEFINITIONS: a. Literacy, simply defined by UNESCO, is the ability to read and write and understand a short statement. b. The acquisition of relevant skills without consecutive formal learning.

4 2. WHY THE LITERACY CAMPAIGN ? Because of its inherent benefits: A.Literacy among agriculturalists, for example, may contribute to an increase in agricultural production: (crucial in development). B.Literate parents tend to have smaller families: (reducing high rate of population growth with stress on development).

5 C.Literates have more awareness of the need to educate their children and to help to check truancy and drop-out from school, thereby raising the efficiency of the formal school system. D.It creates awareness in people which enables them to see the need for change and development. E.It strengthens the response of people to economic and other incentives.

6 3. LITERACY PROFILE OF GHANA & ITS IMPLICATIONS A.According to the 2000 Ghana Population census, nearly half (46%) of the population of Ghana is illiterate. B.There are marked regional disparities: the proportion of the population that is illiterate in Greater Accra is 21%, whereas in Ashanti it is 40%, in Brong-Ahafo it is 54%, and in the three northern regions it is 76% and over. C.64% of women in Ghana are illiterate, as compared with 38% of men.

7 D.It is also estimated that 27% of the total number of school-aged children (believed to be about 4 million children) are not in school. E.What is even worse is that 60% of children in school are unable to read or write simple sentences after six years of basic education.

8 IMPLICATIONS A.Ghana cannot achieve EFA goal 4: “ Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015 (…)” B.at individual levels, the ability of such illiterates to carry out every day activities such as read signposts, understand medicine labels and machinery instructions, confirm commercial transactions and avoid being cheated, is greatly restricted. C.Their effective participation in the national development effort would be greatly constrained.

9 4. INITIAL APPROACHES ( ) A.Non-Formal Adult literacy Approach by missionaries. B.A very narrow objective: to enable their converts to read and understand the Bible. C.In 1940 the British government came out with a short-lived policy on adult literacy “to accelerate socio-economic development in Ghana”. D.In 1951, Nkrumah’s Mass Education Plan, to “wipe out illiteracy” through a mass literacy drive in six Ghanaian languages. “ to educate the people to understand their civic rights and responsibilities and also use their potentialities and talents in achieving desirable goals in the economic, social and cultural spheres ”.

10 Methodology Volunteer instructors ( night school teachers ) in the rural areas taught the alphabet through sight and sound (combination of words and pictures). Based on the need to make it functional, there is a practice where context reality offers support to identify key words for discussion. Child centered Gender sensitive methodology

11 In 1987, the government of Ghana set out to revive mass literacy programmes. The Non- Formal Education Division (NFED) was set up within the Education Ministry to rally public support, coordinate and implement programmes to eliminate illiteracy by the year The UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded pilot literacy projects in two regions, and these proved successful. The Government of Ghana subsequently expanded the projects nationally, under the policy named the Functional Literacy Skills Project (FLSP), which lasted between 1992 and 1997.

12 The National Functional Literacy Programme (NFLP ) was launched in 2000, as the second phase of the earlier FLSP. Its aim is to educate about one million non-literate adults, especially the rural poor and women, by In December 2004, the period was extended to December Participants in the NFLP obtain functional literacy in a Ghanaian language, numeracy skills and participation in development and income generating activities, all at no fee.

13 Methodology & Content Instruction: based on a modified form of the Freirian Methodology, which involves discussion of composite pictures describing an object or situation, and use of syllabisation to form meaningful words and sentences. Topics: public health, safe drinking water, farming techniques, immunization and reproductive health.

14 5. CURRENT APPROACHES A. GOVERNMENTAL: The Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) policy was introduced in 1996 to improve access to basic education for all. This might prove successful in diminishing the flow of young illiterates. However, it appears unlikely that formal basic education will succeed in eradicating illiteracy in the immediate future, given current quality indicators though enrolment rates are improved.

15 B. NON-GOVERMENTAL: From the late 90s, a number of non- governmental organisations stepped in to help wipe out illiteracy, targeting mainly the out-of- school children in hard-to-reach parts of the country.

16 OrganisationPeriodApproach Action Aid1996Shepherd School Programme: Provides basic education to children from isolated and marginalised communities, to equip them with basic literacy and numeracy skills and to provide a connection to the formal school system.

17 School For Life (SFL) 1996Complementary Education: Offers a 9-month mother-tongue literacy, numeracy and creative skills programme for 8 to 14 year- old boys and girls in selected deprived communities.

18 EQUALL ( Education Quality for All) Complementary Education/Reading Improvement in Primary Education (RIPE): Mother-tongue literacy, numeracy and creative skills to 8 to 14 year-old boys and girls in selected deprived communities.

19 Olinga Foundation for Human Development 2001Enlightening the Heart: Offers literacy in mother tongue to remote and hard-to-reach school populations, targeting ages 9 to 15 years.

20 IBIS (EfE) 2006Complementary Education Programme (CEP): Offers a 9-month CEP in mother-tongue literacy, numeracy and creative skills to 8 to 14 year-old boys and girls in selected deprived communities.

21 Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT) 1962 Offers a community-based literacy programme. It aims to combat poverty and exclusion from social, economic and political processes brought about by lack of education, economic opportunities and by lack of awareness of citizens’ rights. Apart from basic literacy, the programme provides its beneficiaries with local knowledge on sustainable development, gender promotion, income-generating activities, as well as HIV/AIDS and other health related issues. Also prints the primers in mother-tongue for other interested NGOs.

22 6. GENERAL CHALLENGES Absence of a coherent, long-term national literacy policy encompassing attention to governance, programme design and delivery, human and financial resources, and the promotion of an environment in which individuals are encouraged to become literate and to sustain their skills. Total lack of partnership with the government by NGOs or synergy among themselves in addressing the illiteracy problem.

23 The curriculum for adult learners is not informed by an understanding of how the adult literates use their knowledge: (helping children with homework, administering medical prescriptions properly, communicating with government offices, writing letters, reading religious texts, opening savings accounts…). Themes are arbitrarily chosen. No wonder there was a very low adult survival rate in the classes that they found irrelevant and boring.

24 The facilitators in the “night classes” were not trained teachers and lacked the skills in teaching adults: The norm was still a formal, basic skills approach with emphasis on mastering reading, writing and numeracy within a specified time. Husbands and wives were put together in the same classes…) The time-table did not respect the seasonal calendar of the farmers, hence the high rate of absenteeism during the farming season.

25 Supervision of the adult classes was ineffective. The Non-Formal Education Department was suspected of being an appendage of the then National Democratic Congress: so were the facilitators. The physically handicapped (especially the visually impaired) are excluded from these campaigns for lack of the appropriate tools (e.g. Braille).

26 7. Conclusion Ghana is far from achieving Education For All by the year 2015 (Goal 4). A lot of progress is, however, likely to be made towards reaching that goal if, among other things, the government ceases to view education in the “formal” and “non-formal” dichotomy. The first challenge identified above (on planning, resources and the creation of enabling literate environments) should be tackled. It is heart-warming that the recent complementary approaches being adopted by NGOs (e.g. School for Life and IBIS) are addressing some of the above-mentioned challenges: flexible timetable, effective supervision, relevant content, learner-centred methodologies…

27 Thank You


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