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 3 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 of 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 even age among classrooms that cause teachers to teach to the average child
- 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 saturation of 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 public, primary schools because they serve the majority of our target population, and we have 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 at least 2 hours per month.
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 change.
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
- 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.
Nuru Education thanks these Uwezo, BRAC, AED and Escuela Nueva 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