USAID trained reading experts promote literacy awareness in Nigeria

A cross-section of educators during the three-day Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Workshop held in Bayero University Kano, Kano state.

A group of education professionals trained on early grade reading by the USAID funded-Northern Education Initiative Plus have formed a professional learning community to implement literacy outreach activities in their localities.

This was the outcome of a three-day training workshop organized by the project at the Bayero University Kano, Kano state for 40 educators who had earlier completed a six-month literacy skills postgraduate course in October 2017 and January 2019.

Participants selected from different federal and state education agencies in Abuja, Bauchi, Sokoto and Kano learnt best strategies for establishing professional learning communities and shared knowledge on ways to conduct community outreach activities that promote and improve literacy skills.

Flagging off the three-day workshop and study tour, Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Prof. Mohammed Yahuza Bello commended efforts made by the United States government through the Northern Education Initiative Plus project to boost expertise in early grade reading in Nigeria and improve the quality of education in primary schools.

Bello stressed the need for all education stakeholders to ensure sustainability of the project, adding that the Nigeria Center for Reading Research & Development, also a USAID funded activity, will do same.

“I assure the management of the Northern Education Initiative Plus that the center will provide whatever support is needed to ensure that this project is sustained nationally,” Bello said.

The collaboration between the Northern Education Initiative Plus and the Nigeria Center for Reading Research & Development also provided participants opportunity to discuss issues on professionalization of early grade reading.

Representative of the Initiative’s Acting Chief of Party and Senior Reading Specialist of the project, Mark Hamilton advised participants to use their expertise on early grade reading to improve the reading culture of pupils in schools and communities.

Lead Facilitator of the workshop and Literacy & Pedagogy Specialist, Florida State University, Dr. Adrienne Barnes urged the educators to become agents of change in the communities where outreach activities will be implemented.

One of the participants and co-facilitator, Sani Mati also highlighted how previous early grade reading trainings organized by the project inspired him to conduct a community-based advocacy campaign in Bauchi state urging parents to participate in their children’s education, support teachers and provide instructional materials for pupils.

“In the past, teachers usually go into communities to mobilize students to attend school. My advocacy campaign, therefore, emphasized the need for parents, community leaders and religious leaders to assume that responsibility. This will definitely increase attendance and enrollment across primary schools in the community,” Mati said.

At the end of the three-day workshop, participants developed 40 outreach plans focused on improving reading and literacy skills of community members. The outreach activities, which were developed during individual and group work sessions, will be implemented by each participant in their respective communities.

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