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16.04.2015 Education

Worldreader making significant impact in deprived areas

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Accra, April 16, GNA - The reading habits and abilities of many pupils in deprived communities are steadily improving with the distribution of electronic readers and books by Worldreader, an American literacy non-profit organization.

At a Worldreader's digital reading summit, held in Accra, on Wednesday, the organization said it had made an impact on 8, 229 children and families with the deployment of 1,597 e-readers in Ghana, each with an average of 155 e-books.

A USAID-funded study report released in 2012 by ILC Africa (Ivy League Consult), a private consultancy, found that the pilot of iREAD, a digital reading programme in Ghana, had increased the reading of participants by 7.6 per cent in seven months.

According to the study, each pupil also had an average of 107 books on their e-reader whiles, the average primary school household owned just 3 books before the start of the programme.

Mr Jacob Kor, the Acting Director General of Ghana Education Service, reiterated that reading and learning outcomes had a direct correlation with a country's economic growth.

He said although physical structures would continue to characterize education, 'Technology offers a variety of learning opportunities beyond the physical limits of school.'

'With the current accelerated growth in mobile devices, we are already witnessing the emergence of flexible, open learning environments that enables contextual, real-time, interactive and personalized learning,' Mr Kor said.

Ms Nana Yaa Afriyie Ofori-Koree, the Sustainability Manager of Vodafone Foundation, makers of the innovative 'Classroom in a box' which can support learning in internet and electricity-deficient communities, said while technology could enhance reading, it was only a tool and what really mattered was the content of the technology being employed.

Mr Samuel Animpa, a representative of the Ghana Education Service (GES) from the Kwaebibirem District, said reading, vocabulary and enrolment had improved since Worldreader transferred the ownership of its operations to GES.

He said 433 e-readers had been distributed in the district with 1,320 students being the beneficiaries.

Ms Cynthia Quashie, the Headmistress of Suhum MA Experimental C, a public basic school, said the impact of the program on her school had been positive, adding that some children whose parents could not afford textbooks now had access to many e-books.

Worldreader's target for 2017 is to possess an e-library of 50,000 books with one million students reading worldwide.


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