In the 2010 population census report, the Ghana Statistical Service cited a 4% increase in the literacy level of students in basic schools.
According to the 2000 report, literacy in English only increased from the 12% in 2000 to 16% in 2010.
However, a current survey conducted by the Ministry of Education in basic school proved contrary.
Their report showed that about 60% of students in basic schools were English illiterates.
Interestingly, reports from the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) seem to agree with the Ministry of Education on the subject.
Since the ability to write is basically dependent on reading habits, it is clear that the reading habits of children is very low, a situation Mr. Fauna Frimpong, the executive Secretary of the Ghana Book Publishers Association blames parents for.
Speaking to LeadersGh, he blamed parents for their inability to inculcate the habit of reading in their wards.
In his opinion, parents could read continuously to their little children so they can grow with the habit of reading.
“We are even encouraging parents to read. You can even read to your one year old or two year old child. When you do that continuous, the child will pick that habit and the child grows with it.” – he said.
He also chided the Ministry of Education for prioritizing reading in schools
According to him, efforts to get the Ministry to reconsider the return of reading and comprehension as a subject or activity in schools have proved futile.
“The ministry is not putting premium on reading. As far as we are concerned, if the child has difficulty in reading, the child cannot do Mathematics. It is because, you’ll have to read and understand before you apply”.
However, he was quick to add that no one could be forced to read but efforts should be made to get people reading. He called for an introduction of a policy by the ministry to mandate every child in school to read.
“We’re trying to encourage the ministry to come up with a policy that will mandate every child in school to read at least three books a term. You cannot force anybody but we can do is to encourage”
“The system is such that it does not encourage people to desire reading. When you travel outside, they have parks where you can sit comfortably and read but we don’t have that in Ghana”.
“We have even this subculture in Ghana which sickens me. Most of the moving vehicles have televisions but when you travel outside, people sit in buses and trains reading. They see and acknowledge the importance of reading but in our part of the world, we do not acknowledge the importance of reading and that is the difficulty we have”.
“We should have a system which would encourage people to want to read. In the UK for instance, people are given newspapers for free to people to read. Do we have that in Ghana here? Certainly no.”