United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council has contributed towards the development of learning in Nigeria’s local languages with the launch of the new Igbo and Yoruba early grade reading materials.
It had earlier assisted in creating materials in the Hausa language. The materials entitled Ka anyi gụo! and
Jẹ ká kawe! in Igbo and Yoruba respectively, will expand the availability of quality local language teaching and learning materials for reading in Nigeria and are targeting all Igbo and Yoruba speaking primary grade 1 to 3 learners in the southern region of the country.
A statement by USAID on Thursday, quoted the USAID Mission Director, Anne Patterson to have said: “Teaching children to read in a language they understand equips them with a powerful tool for lifelong learning.”
The Mission Director said in a virtual launch ceremony that: “Building foundational reading skills accelerates English language acquisition and other skills and contributes to developing a new generation of leaders equipped to help Nigeria meet the challenges ahead.”
Developed by the Research and Development Council with support from the USAID Northern Education Initiative (NEI) Plus activity, the new Igbo and Yoruba curricula will be available for any interested state to adopt, print, and distribute with their own resources.
According to the statement, the curriculum is tailored for a 21st-century audience of emerging readers, rich with culturally relevant stories, colourful pictures, gender-balanced representation, and a clear sequence of content that gradually builds upon the abilities of each learner as new skills and proficiencies are acquired.
It also stated that “Let’s Read” promotes active learner engagement, comprehension, and critical thinking through three levels of instruction that ensure learners develop critical skills necessary for all aspiring readers: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
It said the comprehensive curriculum package includes learner textbooks and workbooks, teachers’ guides, and storybooks for practice in school or at home, all available at no expense for download.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba was quoted to have commended the materials. He said at the launch: “I commend all these laudable achievements and reiterate that the Ministry of Education will continue to partner with USAID to provide basic education services that promote self-reliance.”
He added that: “We are ready to consolidate and sustain gains made by USAID’s NEI Plus project beyond the two states of Bauchi and Sokoto.”
Bauchi and Sokoto were the first two states supported by NEI Plus, and they remain positive models and resources for states recently adopting an evidence-based early grade reading curriculum.
Since October 2015, NEI Plus has delivered over 7 million teaching and learning materials to more than a million primary grade 1 through 3 learners in 2,500 formal schools.