The USAID Partnership for Education: Learning (Learning) seven-year activity supports Ghana's Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and affiliated educational institutions to improve reading performance for students in public primary schools. Recently, the program was extended through June 2021 to support a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through Learning’s early grade reading program (2014–2019), FHI 360 worked with the Ghana Education Service to create programs for all 11 official Ghanaian languages of instruction. Between 2017 and 2019, more than 7,200 schools (707,843 students and 51,000 education staff) received high-quality instructional materials and training in research-based reading instruction methodology. Learning improved overall accountability through the design and use of a tablet-based fidelity-of-implementation system to monitor real-time data on teaching and learning. The external evaluation showed a statistically significant impact, with Grade 2 fluency rates ten times that of comparison schools. Study authors noted that the program had larger effects than any comparable peer program worldwide.
To address English instruction, FHI 360 designed and implemented a transition-to-English (T2E) program (2019–2020) to demonstrate how reading skills transfer from local languages to reading in English. The T2E program, like the Ghanaian language early grade reading program, utilized systematic phonics-based daily lessons with robust vocabulary, language comprehension and writing components and was aligned with the 2019 Ghanaian curriculum.
In 2020, FHI 360 pivoted to support the Ghana Education Service in addressing the COVID-19 emergency and the academic, health, safety and social protection needs of children suddenly not attending school. Building on previous Learning programs, this National Radio Reading Program works with stakeholders to co-design and implement a radio instruction program to improve English reading and language skills and knowledge in Ghanaian languages for kindergarten to Grade 4 students. To date, hundreds of unique lessons have been written, low-cost worksheets to support English reading were distributed to millions of children nationwide, and broadcasts of lessons are ongoing.