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USAID launches LEARN to improve 3.5 million Nigerian children’s reading outcomes

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched the Leveraging Education Assistance Resources in Nigeria (LEARN) to read activity, to improve early grade reading in the country over the next five years.

This $48.8 million U.S. Mission Nigeria investment in education will provide a better future to millions of Nigerian children, and help lead to thriving, prosperous communities throughout Nigeria.

According to Stephen Menard, the supervisory programme office director at USAID/Nigeria, LEARN to read will contribute to improvement in the reading outcomes of more than 3.5 million children in 5,900 schools and in the capacity of more than 35,000 teachers, head teachers, and school support officers to support early grade reading in about 6,000 schools.

“The new USAID activity will ensure that school-age children and youth in Nigeria are able to gain foundational skills, such as literacy and numeracy, safely, while building critical social and emotional skills to progress to higher levels of education, training, and employment,” Menard said.

Goodluck Nana Opiah, the minister of state for education in his speech at the launch applauded the efforts of USAID in improving literacy in the country for many years and still counting.

“The federal ministry of education recognises the efforts of USAID in the last 20 years to improve literacy in Nigeria through its innovative programs,”

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. “LEARN to Read will build on the close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, and language/curriculum experts to support mother tongue-based medium of instruction in the early grades,” Opiah said.

USAID’s education programme focuses on the most vulnerable parts of the population while supporting the government of Nigeria to deliver quality education.

Key focus areas include increasing enrollment, strengthening basic education, building the capacity of teachers, and raising minimum academic standards for the reading curriculum.

The LEARN to read activity will build on the gains of the recently concluded USAID-funded Northern Education Initiative (NEI Plus), which improved reading outcomes for more than one million children in the Bauchi and Sokoto States.

LEARN to Read will strengthen and scale up early grade reading best practices in both states, designated as Legacy states. It will leverage more state and private resources to infuse global best practices for the teaching and learning of early grade reading in the states.

In addition to supporting the two Legacy states, LEARN to read will also offer technical assistance to two other states (designated as launching states) and at least another two states (designated as on-demand states) as part of USAID’s mission to support education and reach millions more children with lifelong skills across Nigeria.

These efforts will help develop a new generation of leaders equipped to help Nigeria meet the development challenges ahead.

USAID leads international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help nations progress beyond assistance.

In Nigeria, USAID supports health systems strengthening, transparent and accountable governance, basic education, and a more market-led, trade-friendly economy.