Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, facing a number of attendant challenges in the education sector which are reinforced by the dearth of basic literacy and numeracy skills. Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in Sub-Saharan Africa and largest gap in teacher recruitment. In addition, many children who have finished six years of primary education do not have basic literacy and numeracy skills. The absence of these basic skills creates a gap which affects performance at secondary school level. The insufficiency of teachers and a focus on completion of curriculum targets leads to undue pressure on the serving teachers and a consequent disregard for children who are struggling in their classes.
Our Approach: In 2018, The Education Partnership (TEP) Centre premiered a remedial programme with support from the Akwa Ibom and Kano State Universal Basic Education Boards, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), Pratham, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and PAL Network (the global network of countries implementing citizen-led assessments). Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) as a remedial methodology, presents an opportunity to bridge this competency gap through a partnership model between communities and their governments and an avenue to address the learning needs of children in upper primary levels as a means of preparing them for a productive future.
Result: After 24 days of intervention in Kano, the share of children at beginner level (i.e. children unable to recognise syllables) dropped from 71% to 34% while the proportion of children competent at story level (an indicator of basic literacy) increased from zero to 7%. There were also significant learning improvements in Akwa Ibom with a 27% drop in the share of beginner level children while the proportion of children at story level competence increased from 17% to 25%.
Over the last one year, TaRL has evolved to Combined Activities for Maximised Learning (CAMaL) – raising a new generation of TaRL master trainers – as a result of the reach and the number of children that have been impacted directly and indirectly. Trainers from Mozambique, Kenya, and Botswana engaged participants from 13 states in Nigeria, in order to grow the number of master trainers in Nigeria and reach more children with this innovative way of learning.