Pen To Paper Ghana is a Ghanaian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with the objective of improving education and educational facilities for the young Ghanaian. The NGO works in partnership with the Ghana Education Service to prepare youths for a future of success.
One way Pen To Paper Ghana sets out to achieve their agenda is by assessing pupils to ascertain their reading ability, a basis on which they provide free after-school classes to help those struggling with their literacy.
How Pen To Paper Ghana works
Richard Manu, the Country Director of Pen To Paper Ghana tells TheAfricandream.net that their assessment is a three-pronged approach involving: phonics — pupils are asked to give the letter sound instead of the letter name; word recognition — these are words that are easily recognizable because they are often used such as THE, IT, and AM and; word blending — these test the child’s capability of decoding random words such as PRAM, RACK, or TUB.
“Children are taught on a daily basis through synthetic phonics to understand how to break down words (decoding) to enable them to read them. Besides providing free classes, we improve school infrastructure and give scholarships to students who are academically bright but face financial struggles” Richard says to TheAfricanDream.net
Though beneficiaries of scholarships return to help their peers in the program as school mentors, the NGO is appealing for more help from people who have a passion see positive changes in the Ghanaian educational system and its infrastructure.
The Passion behind the work of Pen To Paper Ghana
“Here at Pen To Paper Ghana, we believe that reading is a fundamental right for every child. The ability of a child to know how to read and write has a great effect on the growth of a country. We put so much effort into what we do here because ‘Save the Orphan Foundation’ estimates that if every child leaving Junior High School can read and write it would help reduce poverty by 12% globally.” says Richard Manu.
A 12% global reduction in poverty potentially mean over 131 million people being lifted out of poverty. Higher literacy and numeracy rates among Ghanaian children will have a good effect on the economy, agriculture, and environment as a whole.
Mr. Manu further reveals that in Ghana, some students who have finished their Junior High School education (equivalent to GCSE in the UK) that don’t how to read but attained good grades in their final exams by guessing answers in the multiple choice sections. The Country Director of the NGO feels this is negatively affecting the education system as the basic foundations of understanding is not being addressed.t
“Memorization has been at the root of learning how to read which has led to some children with good memories being rated the best in their classes, a rather unfortunate scenario” —Richard Manu.
The way forward
Katie Emerson, a graduate of The Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK and also a Co-Founder of Pen To Paper Ghana says the NGO believes pupils should be taught how to think and not what to think.
“They should be able to explain things in their own words and be able to teach their peers. As with the core of mathematics, reading should be taught as a formula, which we call phonics, the sound of letters” Katie says.
Despite being one of the Founders of Pen to Paper Ghana now, Richard Manu’s education was ironically once hampered due to financial constraints. He was only able to complete Junior High School and whilst there, he had to learn to read by rote. He was passionate about developing his English speaking abilities which lead him to improve his reading and writing skills.
“I now want to help as many as I can to at least know how to read as I don’t want to see children in the position I found myself many years ago”, Richard tells TheAfricanDream.net He also encourages readers to support Pen To Paper Ghana to help improve the lives of future generations by checking out their website at www.pentopaperghana.com
Written by Oral Ofori
Oral Ofori is Founder and Publisher at www.TheAfricanDream.net, a digital storyteller and producer, and also an information and research consultant.