A lack of accountability at all levels of the education management continuum has been identified as one of the major factors hindering the improvement of learning in Nigeria’s education system. This was disclosed at the preliminary report launch of the country’s first citizen-led, household assessment survey recently in Abuja. This report is a major milestone for the LEARNigeria Initiative – Let’s Engage, Access and Report Nigeria – a global Citizen-led assessment model aimed at strengthening citizen agency & policy advocacy in the education sector of Nigeria.
The survey was conducted between September and November 2017 on about 50,000 children in 1,080 communities by 1,440 volunteers. According to the report, approximately 76% of the children surveyed cannot read at primary two story level, and approximately 82% of these children cannot calculate a primary two level multiplication task, though 85% of the children are enrolled into schools.
At the preliminary launch of LEARNigeria 2017 Assessment Report, key players in the educational sector such as the Commissioner of Education for Plateau State, Hon. Jude Dakur, Commissioner of Education for Kaduna State, Ja’afaru Sani, Permanent Secretary, Taraba State Ministry of Education, Samson Ada, Akwa Ibom state SUBEB Chair, Lagos State SUBEB Chair to mention few; participated in a half-day workshop to discuss the findings of the report.
Delivering the Keynote address on the imperative of citizen-generated data, Dr. Kole Shettima, Country Director of MacArthur Foundation highlighted the importance of evidence-based reforms and innovation especially in the education sector. He also emphasized that the implications for governance in any society where active participation of citizens is the norm is that sustainable development is recorded.
Members of the LEARNigeria team also took attendees through the entire process of conducting the pilot phase of the assessment from the development of tools, testing, sampling and conducting the surveys across 1,080 households across six states in Nigeria – Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Kano, Lagos, Plateau, and Taraba to verification of data, analysis and use of results for engagement and policy reform.
According to Dr. Mo Adefeso-Olateju, Managing Director of TEP Centre, when asked about the importance of the LEARNigeria Report, “In building a firm foundation for sharing our findings, it has been imperative to take attendees through the methodology adopted, development of tests tools, and our process of partnership.”
Also, at the event, the Teaching at the Right Level, (TaRL) methodology designed to tailor instruction to a child’s level using fun, level-tailored activities in order to enable students acquire basic literacy and numeracy in a relatively short time in contrast to the typical teacher-focused style of teaching, was presented. In subsequent months, the LEARNigeria Team will visit all geo-political zones to engage stakeholders on the importance of taking responsibility for improving learning outcomes and on the potential benefit of adopting the TaRL methodology. .
Representatives of Federal Ministry of Education, National Bureau of Statistics, CODE, EIE Nigeria, National Population Commission, CESCEFA, UNICEF, EDOREN, DfID, World Bank and MacArthur Foundation were in attendance as well as LEARNigeria’s network of NGO Partners – HESDAN (Lagos), Child & Media Education Initiative (Ebonyi), Life Bridge & Development Foundation (Akwa Ibom), Centre for Health Care and Economic Empowerment for Women and Youth (Plateau), Transparency and Development Information Initiative (Kano), Ferdinard Patrick Nyameh Memorial Foundation (Taraba). The event also provided an opportunity to get feedback from the attendees on the goal and objectives of LEARNigeria as an innovative model to advocate for education reforms in Nigeria.
Billed for release in the third quarter of 2018, the full version of the 2017 LEARNigeria assessment exercise will draw provide more data on the performance of both out-of-school (OOS) children and children enrolled in school across all the various local government areas within the 6 surveyed states, as well as information on other background characteristics that have an impact on learning outcomes such as quality of school infrastructure, teacher quality, educational status of parents etc.
With support from the Hewlett and MacArthur Foundations, the LEARNigeria team has built a team of trusting technical partners, NGO partners, and volunteers over the past one year in order to engage communities and conduct assessment tests on literacy and numeracy levels for children aged between 5-15 years. The reason for this citizen-led household assessment is to enable individuals or organisations understand the root challenges of quality education in Nigeria and be inspired to participate actively in interventions that will lead to better outcomes in education.
LEARNigeria is a citizen-led assessment & advocacy programme in Nigeria designed to assess children on foundational literacy and numeracy skills that they are required to learn as part of the Nigerian curriculum. The highest level in the assessment corresponds to the learning outcomes benchmarks of grade/primary two (the second year of formal education) according to the Nigerian curriculum. The data can help to inform and inspire targeted interventions. It is a part of the global citizen-led assessment body, the PAL Network.
The assessment was carried out in, a total of, 36 local government areas in 6 states (each state representing the 6 geo-political zones in Nigeria) – Taraba, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ebonyi, Kano, and Plateau states. Over 40,000 children aged 5 – 15 years were surveyed.
About TEP Centre
TEP Centre is a pioneer in the emerging field of education partnership, specialising in research, design, implementation, support and evaluation of education programmes, projects and initiatives across the public, private and non- profit sector.
In the bid to establish radically enhanced education systems by leveraging the strengths of stakeholders for effective and sustainable partnerships, TEP Centre improves the overall design, implementation and evaluation of education initiatives through effective, enduring and scalable partnerships.
The key competencies of the organization are as follows:
(1) Research: enabling evidence-led policy making through rigorous research and effective communication strategies.
(2)Capacity Development: strengthening the capacities of policymakers, public sector officers, civil society organisations and corporations.
(3)Monitoring and Evaluation: evaluating and contextualizing best practice in education partnership, and ensuring that they are meaningful, mutually beneficial and effective.
Project Management: designing and implementing development programmes for government, organisations, etc