The World Bank, as part of its commitment to helping countries respond to learning crisis among children, has supported Ghana through the literacy policy package aimed at promoting reading proficiency in primary schools.
The World Bank had also supported the country to strengthen her entire education systems so that literacy improvements can be sustained and scaled up to achieve other education outcomes.
Dr Beatrix Allah-Mensah, the Acting Country Manager, World Bank, said this in Accra to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
It was on the theme: “Ending Learning Poverty; What Will it Take”.
She said eradicating poverty in all dimensions, as embodied in Goal One of the 2030 Sustainable Development, remained a global challenge, which needed collective attention.
Dr Allah-Mensah said many children were experiencing “learning Poverty,” a percentage of children who could not read and understand a simple story and were failing to acquire foundational skills such as basic literacy by age 10.
She said quality of education was still a challenge in most countries with significant discrepancies in learning outcomes between low-income and high-income countries, and regions within countries.
In low and middle-income countries, 53 percent of children in late primary could not read and understand a simple story, she said.
Dr Allah-Mensah said the World Bank, in 2018, created the Human Capital Index to build political commitment for accelerating investment in people, especially in health and education.
She urged governments to be part of policy discussions, directions and interventions that would contribute to ensuring achievement in eradicating learning poverty for sustained growth.
She encouraged teachers to respect and accommodate the different learning needs of students and meet with parents to inform them about the progress of their children.
Dr Allah-Mensah advised children to take their studies seriously and make time to read a storybook every month and join reading clubs to improve their learning skills.
Mr Eric Appiah, President of the Ghana National Association of Private Schools, sharing his views on ways to end learning poverty, called on the authorities to create a reading period in the curriculum to instill reading habits among the children.
He called for collaboration with agencies and stakeholders in the educational sector to improve on children’s reading and public communication.
Mr Asare Adjei, a member of the Ghana Publishers Association, said people must be encouraged to write, which was critical in accelerating the philosophy of reading.
Some of the participants called for holistic efforts to identify the problems and proffer solutions to end learning poverty.
Others urged parents to play a supervisory role by encouraging their children to read at home with a well-established library.