Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all, remains a significant challenge in Ghana. Among the challenges are poor infrastructure, inadequate teachers and access to reading materials across public basic schools in the country.
The situation in rural communities is worse as most schools lack teachers and reading materials.
However, a new technological innovation has sparked hope in the Tolon District of the Northern Region. An online based platform, Google read along app is showing promise for advancing educational opportunities in the country.
The initiative, is being implemented by World Education, an international non governmental organisation in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service.
The beneficiary pupils have been given ipads with the google read along app, which has one thousand reading stories and games that enhances the literacy skills of the pupils. The pupils spend fifteen minutes everyday reading on their ipads.
During a monitoring visit to some beneficiary schools in Tolon and Nyankpala, teachers kn the area lauded the initiative, saying the it will revolutionize the education sector.
At the Nyankpala D A Primary School, a teacher, Alhassan Shahadu lauded the initiative saying, adding that, “it has helped improve the reading skills of the girls.”
The project being piloted in the Tolon district, targets former out of school girls, who were returned to school through the Strategic Approaches to Girls Education (STAGE) initiative.
The Programmes Manager for World Education, Stephen Konde explained that, the Google read along app, leverages speech recognition and voice synthesis technologies to enable children to learn how to read independently. “By listening to their speech and providing real-time feedback, the app helps children improve their reading abilities in a fun and interactive manner,” he noted.
The Read Along app is offline-enabled, ensuring that it can function even in areas without internet connectivity.
Ghana has made significant progress in increasing access to education, but the quality of education remains a concern.
According to the Tolon District Director of Education, Alhassan Sumani, the Read Along app aligns perfectly the district’s educational goals as well as SDG 4’s objective of improving the quality of education by enhancing reading skills and fostering a love for learning. With engaging activities, delightful character interactions, and various reading levels, the app caters to children of different abilities and helps them develop critical reading skills, thus laying a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
Google’s Read Along app is not merely a standalone innovation but part of a larger collaboration with local organizations and initiatives. Through partnerships with governmental bodies, World Education and educational institutions, the app’s implementation is enhanced, ensuring that it caters to the specific needs of school children and aligns with the country’s education policies and priorities.
In a bid to achieve SDG 4, Google’s Read Along app is proving to be a game-changer for Ghana’s education system. By providing an inclusive and accessible learning tool, the app empowers children with reading skills crucial for their growth and future success.
Through its collaborative approach and focus on local needs, the app is poised to strengthen education outcomes and contribute significantly to Ghana’s journey towards quality education for all.