Ferdinand | EducationGhana |June 17|North East Region organizes maiden Reading Competition for Basic Schools
In a world that keeps changing by the minute, surrounded by inequality and deprivation,
education has appeared to be the only safest window through which the most deprived but
determined minds can fly, and explore beyond their immediate horizon.
Here in Ghana, the Northern sector appears to be the most challenged in terms of educational infrastructure. Schools up North are characterized by a lack of adequate desks, classrooms, ICT labs, teachers, and others, despite enough evidence of the readiness of the children to learn.
That is why Umbrella for the African Child (UTAC) and Akua Kids Foundation passionately took it upon themselves to travel to the East Mamprusi District of the North-East Region, Ghana to ascertain the availability of reading resources, and to have firsthand information on teachers in pupil ratio.
Umbrella for the African Child and Akua Kids Foundation produced a documentary in 2021
exposing the deplorable state of schools in Ghana’s North-East Region. As a result, 10 standard desks were donated to two primary classes (Primary 2 and 6), and 15 benches were given to two kindergarten classrooms in Soasobigi and Kukugbini villages.
The group also donated a bookshelf filled with 43 storybooks to Namenboku M/A Junior High School. Since then, the group has collaborated with additional partners, (Smiles Africa, Magho Foundation and Reign Child Organization) to increase the level of literacy in North East Region, offer-teaching assistance to schools with a shortage of teachers, assist children with their reading skills through the establishment of reading clubs in Primary and Junior High school.
The group goal is to transform the East Mamprusi district into a land of readers, writers, and good communicators.
The Maiden Reading Competition
On June 5, 2023, Umbrella for the African Child in collaboration with Akua Kids Foundation,
and Smiles Africa conducted the First Reading Competition at Sakogu, East Mamprusi district –North East Region, Ghana.
The group` arranged this competition to demonstrate its ongoing support for raising the literacy and reading levels of schoolchildren. Seven schools from five villages; Namenboku, Keptritinga, Namasim, Dindani, and Sakogu participated in the competition.
Dindani Junior High School, Namasim Junior High School, Sakogu Roman Catholic Junior High School, Namenboku Junior High School, English Arabic Junior High School, and Confidence Preparatory School were among the participating schools.
Wanimpa Hamida, Baba Mohammed, Imoro Yussif, Laale Hanshaw, Caleb James Owiredu,
Musah Abdul Hanan, Seidu Haadi, Abdulai Samnatu, Gumah Anthony, Mohammed Aminatu,
Yandam Barnabas and Langbon Hamida represented their respective schools.
Among the several dignitaries who graced the event was a representative from Ghana
Education Service’s District Office, Gambaga, Mr Adongo Charles. In his speech, he
underscored the importance of instilling the discipline of reading in children or students at an early age as the key to unlocking their potential.
He acknowledged that while reading proficiency among students in rural areas is already low, the effort of UTAC and Akua Kids Foundation to improve the situation in the district is
commendable. He urged educators to sustain the reading initiative in their respective schools at least every term if not every month.
In order to help their children’s learning process, he recommended that parents monitor their children's reading at home and provide them with the required reading resources. In his closing remarks, Mr. Adongo Charles thanked the organizations and asked for the initiative to be expanded to include other rural areas in the municipality.
The participants expressed excitement about the reading initiative, as it will encourage more children within the district to fall in love with reading and writing.
Caleb James Oweridu from Sakogu Roman Catholic Junior High School won the competition with 18.73%, followed by Wanimpa Hamida from Namenboku M/A Junior High School in
second place with 18.7%, Laale Hanshaw from Confidence Preparatory School in third place
with 17.5%, and Baba Mohammed from Namenboku M/A Junior High School in fourth place
Speaking in an interview, the winner of the competition, Master Caleb James Owiredu, said: he has always loved reading, and anytime he reads he feels brave and bold. He went further to say reading helps him be confident and encourages his fellow students to take up the habit of reading, as it will help them to be bold.
Chief Wanimpa Mohammed, a Sub-chief of the Sakogu traditional territory, expressed his
gratitude to the organizations for the initiative, as he believes it will encourage more pupils to develop a love for reading in the district.
One of the event's organizers, Mr. Samuel Mensah, in his welcome speech, pointed out that certain aspects of rural education must improve in order to raise school participation and performance in rural communities.
He added: Even if industrialization and economic progress are benefits of urbanization, Ghana Education Service should strike a balance between urban and rural schooling if the Ministry and the Government are serious about achieving quality education in Ghana.
He also expressed gratitude to the Sakogu chief, the participating communities, and the
instructors for their involvement in making the competition a success.
Award for Winners
Each of the winners received educational materials, storybooks, exercise books and school bags to assist them in their educational journey.
In their commitment to improving the literacy level of children in the East Mamprusi district, the organization is collaborating with the Reign Child organization to build a library in Namenboku village.
This Library is a means of cultivating children’s interest in reading by providing various
sources such as storybooks, magazines, comics, and other materials for reading, discussing, and other literacy activities. The library will actively encourage and mediate with residents of Namenboku village who want to expand their knowledge.
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