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From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.
Ghana’s official national language is English. But for most citizens English is also a second language. Until recently, children in the country had to learn English as soon as they entered school. But, many had little contact with English, especially those in poor rural areas. As a result, many Ghanaian children never learned to read and write. A government program designed to deal with this problem began in 2010. It teaches reading and writing in local languages during a two-year kindergarten program and through grade three. Then in grade four, children begin to study in English only. Safaliba is a rare language with about 7,000 speakers in several towns in northern Ghana. Safaliba had no written form until 2003. Paul Schaefer grew up in Ghana and works for the Christian based non-governmental organization GILLBT. That stands for Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy, and Bible Translation. He and his wife studied the Safaliba language. They worked with Safaliba speakers to develop a way to write the language. They used this written language in adult literacy programs and published short books for the students. Iddi Bayaya is the main Safaliba literacy teacher. He is a farmer who had a few years of primary school education. Since 2009, Mr. Bayaya has taught a nightly literacy class in his hometown and two other villages. Soon children started coming to the adult classes and they learned the written language quickly. Paul Schaefer found that children who learn to read and write in their own language can use those skills in a second language and do better in school.