On August 30, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Leveraging Education Assistance Resources in Nigeria (LEARN) to Read activity, to improve early grade reading in the country over the next five years. This $48.8 million U.S. Mission Nigeria investment in education will provide a better future to millions of Nigerian children, and help lead to thriving, prosperous communities throughout Nigeria.
LEARN to Read will contribute to improvement in the reading outcomes of more than 3.5 million children in 5,900 schools and in the capacity of more than 35,000 teachers, headteachers, and school support officers to support early grade reading in about 6,000 schools.
“The new USAID activity will ensure that school-age children and youth in Nigeria are able to gain foundational skills, such as literacy and numeracy, safely, while building critical social and emotional skills to progress to higher levels of education, training, and employment,” Supervisory Program Office Director USAID/Nigeria, Stephen Menard said at the launch.
“The Federal Ministry of Education recognizes the efforts of USAID in the last 20 years to improve literacy in Nigeria through its innovative programs,” Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nana Opiah said at the launch. “LEARN to Read will build on the close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, and language/curriculum experts to support mother tongue-based medium of instruction in the early grades.”
USAID’s education program focuses on the most vulnerable parts of the population, while supporting the Government of Nigeria to deliver quality education. Key focus areas include increasing enrollment, strengthening basic education, building capacity of teachers, and raising minimum academic standards for reading curriculum.
The LEARN to Read activity will build on the gains of the recently concluded USAID-funded Northern Education Initiative (NEI Plus), which improved reading outcomes for more than one million children in Bauchi and Sokoto states. LEARN to Read will strengthen and scale up early grade reading best practices in both states, designated as Legacy states. It will leverage more state and private resources to infuse global best practices for the teaching and learning of early grade reading in the states.
In addition to supporting the two Legacy states, LEARN to Read will also offer technical assistance to two other states (designated as Launching states) and at least another two states (designated as On-demand states) as part of USAID’s mission to support education and reach millions more children with lifelong skills across Nigeria. These efforts will help develop a new generation of leaders equipped to help Nigeria meet the development challenges ahead.