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USAID launches new early grade learning books in Igbo, Yoruba languages

  • Igbo and Yoruba curricula join successful Hausa programme in North

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council on Thursday jointly launched the new Igbo and Yoruba early grade reading materials entitled Ka anyi gụo! and Jẹ ká kawe! respectively.    

According to a statement from the USAID Mission office in Abuja, the resources expand the availability of quality local language teaching and learning materials for reading in Nigeria, targeting all Igbo and Yoruba speaking primary grade 1 to 3 learners in the southern regions.  

USAID Mission Director, Anne Patterson, said in a virtual launch ceremony that “teaching children to read in a language they understand equips them with a powerful tool for lifelong learning. 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.

The curriculum is tailored for a 21st century audience of emerging readers, rich with culturally relevant stories, colorful 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.  

“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.   

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.  

Federal Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, 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. 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, the first two States supported by NEI Plus, remain positive models and resources for states recently adopting an evidence-based early grade reading curriculum.  

Since October 2015, NEI Plus has delivered over seven million teaching and learning materials to more than one million primary grade 1 through 3 learners in 2,500 formal schools.    

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