300,000 textbooks distributed to children in northern Nigeria
By Boco Abdul
February 6, 2017
SOKOTO, Nigeria – More than 300,000 textbooks were delivered to students and teachers in January through Northern Education Initiative Plus, a U.S. Agency for International Development funded project that improves the early grade reading skills of children in nearly 900 primary schools in Sokoto state.
At a ceremonial delivery of the new textbooks, representatives of the state government and USAID remarked on the importance of quality, locally focused reading materials for students.
USAID Mission Director Michael Harvey told attendees: “Every child deserves quality basic education. The United States is proud to partner with the Government of Sokoto state to provide more opportunities for children to not just go to school but learn to read and write.”
USAID was joined by Sokoto Gov. Aminu Tambuwal and Commissioner of Education Dr. Muhammad Kilgori, among other elected officials and community leaders, on Jan. 24 to kick off the distribution of the books in a ceremony at Buhari Model Primary school in the Tambuwal local government area.
“We remain committed to investing in the future of our children through education and the U.S government is a worthy partner in this vision,” said the Education Commissioner. “It is important that every child in school learns to read and this is why we are cascading the reading program of the Northern Education Initiative Plus to all schools in Sokoto state.”
Sokoto Gov. Tambuwal reiterated the government’s commitment to improving the quality of basic education in schools so more children acquire basic literacy skills.
USAID’s Mission Director agreed: “We will continue to meet the yearnings of parents for quality early grade reading instruction for their children. Our education efforts in Sokoto is an investment in the future of children who will grow to contribute positively to their communities.”
Increasing access to quality education in local language
Based on global best practices in teaching young students, the Northern Education Initiative Plus program materials promote education quality, access, conflict sensitivity and particularly early grade reading. The program teaches children to read early, while building their socio-emotional and cognitive skills.
The 300,000 textbooks distributed to schools and are coupled with providing teachers in Sokoto with skills and tools to support early grade reading in Hausa, which is one of the most common languages in Northern Nigeria. The students will transition to English later in the program.
Developed by more than 100 local and international experts, the program’s learning and teaching materials contain illustrative pictures and local stories promoting social values that are attractive to children. The materials have been edited by Nigeria’s best Hausa and English experts to ensure that local language use is correct and that they are embedded in the local culture and traditions.
The five-year, Nigerian government-led Northern Education Initiative Plus program aims to improve reading outcomes of more than 2 million primary grade learners in 6,868 schools and 11,129 non-formal learning centers in the Bauchi and Sokoto states.
The program will train and equip around 45,000 teachers and learning facilitators who can reach children in schools and non-formal learning centers.
Last October, the Northern Education Initiative Plus program distributed 1 million textbooks in Nigeria’s Bauchi state, empowering even more teachers and students in the northern states to reach their full potential.