USAID, NERDC Inaugurate Early Grade Learning Books in Local Languages

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By Funmi Ogundare in Lagos and Micheal Olugbode in Abuja

United State Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), has inaugurated the Early Grade Reading (EGR) Teaching and Learning Materials (TLM) in Igbo and Yoruba Languages:’ Ka Anyi Guo’ and ‘Je Ka Kawe’.

The material were developed to improve reading outcomes amongst Nigerian children from primary one to three and promote the use of mother tongue in early grade education .

Speaking at the public presentation held recently, via Zoom, the Chief of Party USAID Northern Education Initiative (NEI) Plus, Mr. Nurudeen Lawal expressed delight about the initiative noting that children across the country, will be able to read in their mother tongue.

The development of the materials, he said, follows the successful implementation of Ma Karanta! and Let’s Read! EGR Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMS) across northern Nigeria.

According to him, “Like the Ma Karanta and Let’s Read, the Ka Anyi Guo! and Je Ka Kawe!, pupil books and scripted teacher’s guides, reflect evidence -based practices for EGR and align with the national curriculum. These materials are developed to improve reading outcomes and promote the use of mother tongue among Nigerian children.”

He said he believes that once the reading culture of children are increase, you have reduced poverty level across the world.
The Edecutive Secretary, NERDC, Professor Ismail Junaidu recalled how the materials were developed through a joint collaboration of different stakeholders in the education sector, adding that it was designed to impact positively on the improvement of reading ability among Nigerian children, thereby boosting educational development.

“With the mandate for curriculum development, NERDC led a team of consultants, writers and representatives of key parastatals in the education sector to develop the Igbo and Yoruba reading materials. They have no doubt come at the right time. After all, the aim is to improve children’s reading performance and Nigeria is a committed partner in this effort. They were developed through global best practices following the guidance of seasoned education experts in teaching curriculum and language development, ” he stressed.
He said it is critical for all education stakeholders to ensure that teachers at the primary level receive the support they needed to help our children learn to read, adding that teachers must guide pupils to learn and practice reading using this text inside and outside the classroom. “Parents must also support their children to read and practice at home every day and ensure that they have access to this material in the affected states, as well as be lifelong learners.”

The Mission Drector, USAID, Dr. Anne Patterson said the development of this resources has presented her office with an opportunity to build foundational reading skills among children thereby contributing to developing a new generation of leaders equipped to help Nigeria meet the challenges ahead, adding, “with the quality of these materials, I have no doubt that more Nigerian children will have the literacy skills to fully understand the information to read and easily put it into good use.

She commended the Ministry of Education for its leadership as well as the contributions of education practitionals who were involved in the process of the development of the materials.

” We all know the importance of education and no country can rise above the quality of its education. An investment in the quality of education of the children is an investment that secures a bright future for the nation, “Patterson said.

The Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajuba who inaugurated the reading materials commended the laudable achivements of USAID, NERDC and those who have contributed towards the succesful development in line with the national policy on education, adding that his ministry will continue to partner with USAID to provide basic education to promote self reliance.