Zaliha Nasiruddeen Bello has been working in the academic field for almost two decades. In 2003, she started her academic career as a classroom teacher working with the Sokoto State Basic Education. After working as a classroom teacher for 7 years, Zaliha landed a job as an educator at the Shehu Shagari College of Education in 2009. In 2015, she took-a-leap and transferred her services to Sokoto State University.

Zaliha’s first encounter with a reading developmental project came when a colleague introduced her to an opportunity to participate in an end-line data collection for the USAID-funded project, Northern Education Initiative Plus (NEI Plus) in 2013. Zaliha, who is keen on learning all she can in her field as an educator, decided to participate in the data collection exercise. “Participating in this activity taught me the science of data collection,” she said.

This project opened Zaliha to a new world of opportunities. One of NEI Plus’ strategies in achieving better learning outcomes in early grade reading is teacher development and capacity building. Zaliha became a Masters Trainer and benefited from various teacher capacity building training through the initiative.

After a training organized by NEI Plus at Yankari in Bauchi State, Zaliha decided to take a deeper dive in studying the reading documents given to all participants. She printed all the reading documents contained in a flash drive each participant got, intent on spending quality time understanding its contents. This further sparked her interest in Early Grade Reading and teacher development.

Zaliha then began to apply teacher support strategies learned to help teacher-students under her supervision to improve on their skills. As a Master Trainer who participated in all the NEI Plus teacher training programs from inception, she also learned the art of teacher reflection and the use of the rubric for grading and scoring.

“My star started shinning after I participated in material development with NEI PLUS. All the skills and knowledge I gathered working with NEI PLUS have opened up opportunities to work with other reading intervention projects in Nigeria”, Says Zaliha

She has since served as a reading and literacy consultant for other development projects like RANA/FHI360, Haske/UNICEFF, AEP/NERDC, BESDA, and Haske projects.

Opportunities come to those who are ready. Recently, NEI Plus advertised a vacancy position for the role of a Hausa Reading Specialist and Zaliha applied. Her growth over the last few years, experience in the classroom and expertise in reading projects made her the ideal candidate.
Zaliha Nasiruddeen Bello is excited about her new role. In her words, “this is a good opportunity for me to contribute fully to taking the lead towards improving pupils’ reading outcomes in Nigeria.”

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