Literacy, the ability to read and write, is a bedrock of individual and societal development. International Literacy Day (ILD) is celebrated on the 8th of September every year to promote global awareness of the meaning and importance of literacy for individuals and societies.
As an organisation committed to building and promoting foundational literacy in children, TEP Centre has partnered with multiple state and non-state actors to implement literacy-based programmes across Nigeria.
Today, on International Literacy Day 2022, TEP Centre highlights some of its programmes and partnerships which are helping children improve their literacy skills:
LEARNigeria (Let’s Engage, Assess and Report Nigeria) is an assessment, advocacy and action initiative of TEP Centre.
Using tools developed in partnership with both the state and non-state sectors, LEARNigeria has assessed the foundational literacy and numeracy competencies of 40,000 children in 21,600 households across six states in Nigeria. The LEARNigeria Assessment tools have been utilized by institutions and orgaisations that include UNICEF, Street Child and University of Buckingham, and are being deployed by programmes funded by the UK-FCDO and USAID. LEARNigeria has been supported by Hewlett Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and partnered by several organisations including government agencies, civil society organisations and academic institutions.
Drawing on data from LEARNigeria assessment, TEP implemented the LEARNigeria Remedial Programme which is a form of Assessment-Informed Instruction (AII). In just 24 days of programming in Kano and Akwa Ibom States, our intervention halved the number of children who could not read at foundational level. This success of this programme was recognized through a full-page ad in the Financial Times newspaper of October 14th. LEARNigeria has been supported by Hewlett Foundation, and the Gates Foundation.
Concerned by learning about lots of children without access to teachers and classroom during the pandemic, they partnered with Google.org to conceptualise and implement the Zo Mu Koya Tare Project, a low-tech remedial learning programme carried out in rural and urban locations in Kano state, Nigeria.
Koya was designed to ensure that children did not suffer learning loss during pandemic-induced school closures. The objective of the programme was to preserve the foundational literacy and numeracy competencies of children by leveraging targeted SMS-delivered learning activities drawn from a customised syllabus and delivered via basic feature phones, and supplementary instructional workbooks which were designed leveraging the LEARNigeria Remedial syllabus.
After 8 weeks of programming, improvements in foundational literacy and numeracy skills of children ranged from 6% to 15. This is remarkable for the team, given that instruction was delivered exclusively by parents and caregivers with remote support provided by SMS technology. It suggests that home-based learning using low-tech solutions can stem the tide of learning loss especially in contexts of conflict or protracted crisis.
There is much evidence to suggest that the teacher is the most important school-level factor in children’s learning. To strengthen the capacity of teachers to use learning and management data derived from their classrooms, they implemented the Integrated Teacher Capacity Development Programme (ITCDP) in partnership with Open Society Foundations and Oxford University. The ITCDP programme helped teachers:
- Learn to use assessment data to identify student learning gaps and track improvements or declines in student performance over time.
- Co-reflect on the factors underlying learning gaps.
- Design, modify and implement customized action plans to enhance learning outcomes.
The pilot was carried out in Akwa Ibom and Kaduna states. Beneficiaries were drawn from 80 government schools, with 960 pupils, and 739 teachers in total supported. The students were assessed on foundational literacy and numeracy content knowledge over three-term cycles of the programme. Although the programme was targeted directly at teachers, the expected positive externality on children’s learning was recorded, with literacy rates in both states increasing by 61.1 points above the benchmark.
TEP is part of the core consortium that is delivering the seven-year £95m Partnership for Learning for All in Nigeria (PLANE) programme which is funded by the UK-FCDO. Commencing in 2021, PLANE is expected to deliver a more inclusive and effective education system that will improve the foundational skills of Nigerian children in literacy and numeracy.
TEP is also a core consortium member of the $48m USAID-funded LEARN to Read programme which is a literacy programme that aims to establish best practices for the ownership, sustainability and improvement of teaching and learning of early grade reading gains in Nigeria. With the child at the centre of the entire process, LEARN to Read will ensure improved literacy in our children.
TEP Centre is commencing a new programme which will help teachers better understand how to assessments of learning can and should inform classroom instruction. This programme, supported by Gates Foundation, will be implemented in Southwest Nigeria.
As they reflect on the work they have done over the years, and the programmes they are currently supporting, they recognize that whilst they have covered much ground, as long as even one child is unable to read at the right level, there is still much to be done.
Through their work, children across Nigeria are emerging from the shadows of illiteracy and innumeracy. However, TEP Centre refuses to stop until every Nigerian child has acquired the foundational literacy and numeracy skills that can position them to ascend the ladder of productivity and fulfilment. Can this be done? They believe that it can.
To join TEP Centre on this journey, send them a mail at [email protected].