In remote, rural areas of the developing world where extreme poverty persists, many students are in school but are not developing basic literacy
and it’s preventing them from understanding and succeeding in all disciplines. Of these students, the majority in Standard 2 to Standard 8 cannot read or comprehend their national language at the Standard 2 level. Sadly, many students graduate from primary school without achieving basic literacy skills and often do not attend secondary school.
We recognize that these issues contribute to a lack of retention and low literacy:
- Lack of learning and teaching resources
- Poor student to teacher ratios
- Lack of awareness and attention to learning disabilities and special needs
- Poorly trained teachers, due to lack of formal training for some teachers, low quality programs for formally trained teachers and lack of opportunity for continued professional development
- Lack of motivation among teachers and school administrators
- Huge diversity of learning levels and ages among classrooms that make it difficult to differentiate instruction
- Test-based and rote memory learning
In support of Nuru’s goal to achieve sustainable and scalable poverty alleviation, Nuru’s Education Program is increasing child literacy to the Standard 2 level for primary school-aged children attending public schools in rural communities. We have two specific goals:
- Bridge gaps in literacy through intensive student-centered teaching and literacy-focused interventions
- Supplement the existing public, primary school system through outreach programs targeted at bringing literacy to a Standard 2 level
Nuru partners with rural, public, primary schools because they serve the majority of our target population, in which most of the students are low performing. Nuru’s Education Program has Ministry of Education approval at the national, provincial and district levels to conduct our programs. Here is the model we created to achieve our goals:
Outreach Program During School:
The Nuru Education Team supplements the existing Kenyan curriculum
with literacy workshops during free time in the school day. The team rotates between schools, serving each class in each school for 4 hours per month, visiting each school once per week.
Our workshops focus on the five main components of literacy
development: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Also, we use the Uwezo
literacy assessment tool at the beginning and end of the school year to set our baseline and monitor growth in literacy levels.
We designed our Outreach Program to overcome the issues that are contributing to a lack of retention and low literacy, as outlined above. Here are specific measures we take to overcome these issues:
Outreach Program During School
Professional Development and Training
- We monitor classes and tailor lessons to address challenges and unique learning issues by grade level and school.
- We split classrooms into small groups to improve student/teacher ratios.
- Our lessons emphasize student participation and experiential learning.
- We focus on developing trust and helping students overcome fears of punishment and shame.
- We encourage student participation, questions, and creativity during workshops.
- Experiential learning and creative activities are emphasized.
- All programs are free and students attend at-will.
- Leadership opportunities are emphasized to build student confidence and increase participation.
- Games, reading activities, field trips and creative projects make learning fun and engaging.
- Collaboration and idea sharing is encouraged.
We also work extensively with the teachers we employ to provide training on the best practices in teaching, including new, innovative teaching techniques to make learning fun and exciting. Through the use of video analysis and classroom observation we monitor our facilitators and give constant feedback to improve the level of instruction in our lessons. We also bring in experts from Kenya and around the world to give workshops on various topics related to literacy and teaching.
Nuru Education thanks Uwezo, BRAC, AED and Escuela Nueva, and Harvest Learning Group for their contribution to international development and influence on our approach, philosophy, and program model.
Nuru’s Education Program is increasing child literacy to the Standard 2 level for primary school-aged children attending public schools in rural communities