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General News of Tuesday, 15 August 2017


Government urged to consider ‘One District, One Library’ initiative

Lack of quality education in the Northern Region in recent years, has become a major preoccupation of many stakeholders especially civil society organisations, parents and teachers.

Various studies conducted over the years have shown that standards at the basic school level are falling, resulting in poor passes at the annual Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

For instance, a recent study conducted BY the Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID) proved that, nearly 50 percent of children age 6-15 years currently in basic school in the Sagnarigu District of the Northern Region, could neither read letters, words and stories nor work out simple numeracy from grade 2 symbols.

To curb the poor performances at the annual BECE and WASSCE, a youth focused nongovernmental organisation, Youth Empowerment for Life (YEfL) is urging government to as a matter of urgency consider the establishment of a library in each of the 26 districts of the Northern Region.

The call, which is part of a yearlong campaign under the theme: “One District; One Library: A catalyst for universal youth literacy”, is in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 4.6 which stipulates that “By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy”, acting Director of YEfL Alhassan Abdul-Ganiyu told this reporter in an interview.

According to him, the goal of the campaign is to promote literacy and numeracy skills among the youth and to improve the educational outcomes in the region especially in the BECE and WASSCE.

“The performances of students in these examinations are horrifying and consistently so for the past 8 years. We believe that the establishment of these libraries would help redirect the energies of the youth from cybercrime which has taken a toll on their lives to reading which would lead to increased performance in the BECE and WASSCE in the region”, Mr. Alhassan opined.

As part of a series of activities on the campaign, YEfL joined other likeminded organisations to organise a panel discussion drawing experts from the educational sector, media and civil society on the International Youth Day to interact with over 250 youth from the region.

The discussion was to generate debates on strategies to improve access to quality education considering the consistent poor performance in both the BECE and WASSCE.

Northern Regional Director of the Ghana Library Authority, Aaron Kuwornu in an interaction with participants of the panel discussion, cited truancy and laziness as some of the major contributory factors to the poor performance of students in the region.

He also agreed that lack of libraries in some districts of the region to complement existing but poorly stocked libraries in schools as well as inadequate learning and teaching materials was the cause of poor performance of students.

On his part, the Director in charge of Planning and Monitoring at the Northern Regional Directorate of Education, Prince Askia Mohammed, also attributed the falling standards of education to bad leadership on the part of school heads, parents and educational authorities.

He said huge investments have been made in the education over the years but still, the quality was nothing to write home about. “Until there is a change in the behaviour of teachers, parents and authorities with regards to effective management of schools and strict supervision, the quest for quality education might take a long time to achieve”, he stated.