A SPEECH BY ANTHONY KWAKU AMOAH, PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER OF GES, AT THE READING AND SPELLING COMPETITION FOR KIDS ORGANISED BY COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL, NGO, AT ADIDOME (V/R) ON 06/12/2015
MR. CHAIRMAN HON ASSEMBLY MEMBERS PRESENT DIRECTORS OF COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL TRADITIONAL AND OPINION LEADERS PARTICIPATING CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS BODIES PARENTS AND GUARDIANS TEACHERS AND PUPILS FRIENDS OF THE MEDIA LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!
Good Morning to all of you and welcome to this important edition of Reading and Spelling Competition for our own brothers, sisters and kids! Last year, I happened to be the moderator and I am humbled to be invited again this year to act in the same capacity. May I seize this chance to commend Compassion International and all of you for your continued effort at promoting quality education delivery to the child?
Mr. Chairman, I urge all of us to take whatever happens here today very serious and try to motivate the kids well as the contests unfold. Let us not forget about the fact that the child we see on the reading stage today is that brilliant newscaster on the nice T.V. screen tomorrow. It is to say that the kind of coaching that we give to the child determines their performance in future.
Quality education delivery is a task, Mr. Chairman, which demands collective inputs of all stakeholders, including those of us who are here today and participating in this event. The demands of society are getting many and complex that it is becoming practically more difficult, if not impossible, for the school to bear them all alone. The teacher needs everybody's support in order to churn out the holistic education that we desire for the child.
Findings show that there are over 400,000 Ghanaian children of school-age who still are at home due to the remoteness of their schools from home, economic challenges and socio-cultural limitations. Most of these out-of-school children have become great victims of child labour, child delinquency, child marriage, teenage parenthood and many more.
Policies and programmes like the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE), School Capitation Grant and School Feeding Programme will fail to make the needed impacts should stakeholders withdraw their support to Government and GES. GES has approved of and is supporting the Complementary Basic Education programme to bring children of the ages, 8 to 14 years, back to school. This programme, which was started by some non-governmental organisations, such as the School for Life, in the three northern regions, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions, teaches children basic literacy, numeracy and life skills using a local language as the main medium of instruction. Children, after going through the programme for some nine months, are assessed by GES and enrolled at primary 3 or 4. I, therefore, suggest to Compassion International to give this educational package also a place in their nice list of programmes and projects on offer.
The choice of this event, therefore, comes at a time that all of us, including GES are worried about the appalling performance of pupils in reading and writing. According to a study on Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Assessment (2014), a whooping figure of over 90% of pupils in Ghanaian basic schools could not read and understand. Out of this, about 50.7% could not read at all, 43.8% could read some words without understanding.
Mr Chairman, I do not believe that any of us would sleep well as we are being reminded that of the hundreds of thousands of kids that we have in our schools, only 1.8% could read proficiently and understand. As I thank Compassion for their service to the child, I implore the rest of us, including parents and participating churches to impress upon our children to respect their teachers, instructors and others, and to study their books well always.
God bless Compassion! God bless the church!! God bless the Ghanaian child!!!