The Ghana Reads program is implemented by Open Learning Exchange Ghana and focuses on fostering interactive teaching and providing educational resources to improve literacy among low-income elementary students in Ghana. Working in the Ga West district of the Greater Accra region, the program uses "coaches" with significant expertise in teaching and learning to help teachers transition to more interactive teaching methods, breaking the traditional instructor/student hierarchy. These teaching coaches work as circuit supervisors within the public education system and are assigned to schools (2 per coach) in partnership with the Ghanaian government. Prior to engagement with teachers, coaches go through training to orient them on the Ghana Reads philosophy. After being trained, coaches work with teachers in the classroom, help them in lesson planning, and record videos of teachers delivering lessons so the coach and teacher can review the lesson together and the coach can give constructive feedback.
The second pillar of the Ghana Reads program is its provision of digital educational resources to its beneficiary schools. Basic e-Learning Libraries (BeLLs) will be installed and supported in 20 rural elementary schools. They consist of computer servers with two terabytes of open educational resources, which are connected to a projector, laser printer, speakers, and monitors to allow for use of its resources for large group lesson delivery, individual use on monitors, and other uses. Additional resources can be added through flash drives or created locally using a keyboard and video camera. The BeLL does not have to be connected to the internet to access these resources; however if connected it can obtain additional resources from Open Learning Exchange's Earth BeLL and other websites around the world. In addition to providing these resources and training teachers on their usage, the program also seeks to provide students with technology such as tablets and mobile devices which will enable them to practice their reading proficiency independently and in small groups while teachers record and monitor their progress.
Click here to see full program profile
CEI approaches in action
Community education on topical education issues, literacy based educational games involving the entire school community (staff, pupils and parents), and carrying out research on low cost but robust technology to ensure that the program cost is low enough to be affordable to the target audience.
The program started in January 2013 with 10 schools and approximately 3,600 plus pupils. In September 2013, 10 more schools were added under the ACR supported phase of the program. In Juanuary 2014, Word Vision Ghana started supporting new deployments of the program in other parts of the country. Currently the program is in 7 districts in 4 regions impacting around 9,000 plus pupils, more than 200 teachers, and over 50 communities. Resources in the BeLL (Basic eLearning Library) have grown tremedously with OLE Ghana working with teachers, pupils and resource developers to create new resources to address indentified needs of the end users. The program with the blessings of the Curriculum Research and Development Divion of the Ghana Education Service has incorporated mother tougne material in all 11 languages officially used in Ghanaian basic schools at the early age. Additionally, an online version of the learning management system that accompanies the BeLL platform has been developed. An online repository of K12 literacy resources has been developed to help feed the school BeLLs.It marks also the beginning of a National eLibrary of K12 teaching and learning materials.
The program implementers are in talks with the Curriculum Research and Development Division of the Ghana Education Service to fully develop the program's online repository of K12 literacy resources into a full blown National eLibrary of K12 teaching and learning materials. It is hoped that the development of this National eLibrary of K12 materials would be started in 2015.
We still have plans to begin the development of a Teachers' Portal by the end of 2015 as part of the support system to provide for teachers a one-stop teacher support system complete with teacher professional development opportunities that will ensure that teachers do not leave the classroom and go for 'seat time' training programs that take them away from spending valuable contact hours with their pupils.
We seek by the end of 2015 to scale the program to the remaining 6 regions in Ghana so as to cover the whole of the country and then put in place steps to go international with the program. To actualize this, the program implementers have approached the private sector to forge a public private partnership wth them to execute this agenda.
We will continuie to work with development partners and INGOs to further develop the program putting in place a rigorous monitoring, evaluation and documentation process to enable it share its success stories and lessons learned.
Monitoring & Evaluation
To measure the impact of the Ghana Reads program on student learning outcomes and literacy rates, Open Learning Exchange Ghana conducted a baseline study of 20 beneficiary schools and 5 control schools in the Ga West Municipality of the Greater Accra Region and Sekyere East in the Ashanti Region. Three different assessment tools were used:
- Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) covering vocabulary, letter sounds, familiar words, non-word reading, and comprehension from Kindengarden to P3
- Standardized English Paper covering grammar, reading, comprehension, and composition for P4, P5, and P6
- School and Community Data Collection Tool measuring perceptions of randomly sampled teachers and community members on a variety of teaching and learning issues in the community.
The baseline serves as an important point of reference for measuring the program’s impact in the future. A mid term evaluation and end line evaluation are expected to be carried out as part of the program's M & E srategy.
In addition to this, feedback on program activities is to be collected by an inbuilt/automated program feedback collection mechanism and shared with stakeholders via a feedback portal on a weekly basis.
See more at: me.oleghana.org/
While the midterm evaluation report noted that among pupils who were on the Ghana Reads program, literacy skills increased 13% overall, with the largest gains made in subtasks of linking sounds to letters and identifying fictional words, the end-line evaluation established that there was a 98% (n=88) MD improvement in overall performance between midterm and end-line phases.
Visit doc.oleghana.org/_/index.php to read the evaluation reports.
The cost of setting up the library is less than $1 per student. The cost of the entire project (coaching and everthing else) for a student in a school of 250 students over a 3 year period is less than $5 per term.