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KaLMA empowers over 30,000 students

By Sunday Aikulola
19 December 2021   |   3:21 am
Recently, the Kano Literacy and Maths Accelerator (KaLMA) programme results were shared at a dissemination event held at the Fountain Hall of the Rockview Hotel Royale, Abuja.

A father and daughter from Kano State listening to a KaLMA literacy lesson delivered by radio during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Inspired by the KaLMA Home-Based Learning programme, the father bought a blackboard which he installed at home to help teach his daughter Maths, Hausa and English with guidance from the KaLMA radio programme.

The British Council has announced the conclusion of the Kano Literacy and Maths Accelerator (KaLMA) programme, funded through UK Aid, which aimed to improve literacy and numeracy among Primary 4 to Primary 6 pupils by piloting the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach in Kano State, Nigeria.

The British Council has announced the conclusion of the Kano Literacy and Maths Accelerator (KaLMA) programme, funded through UK Aid, which aimed to improve literacy and numeracy among Primary 4 to Primary 6 pupils by piloting the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach in Kano State, Nigeria.

Recently, the Kano Literacy and Maths Accelerator (KaLMA) programme results were shared at a dissemination event held at the Fountain Hall of the Rockview Hotel Royale, Abuja. The dissemination event was a culmination of activities carried out during the pilot exercise and aimed to inform stakeholders of key achievements, deliverables and lessons learnt.

The programme was funded by FCDO Nigeria and led by the Kano State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) in partnership with the British Council, TaRL Africa, the Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education and the Kano Ministry of Education. It is rooted in the Teaching at the Right Level evidence and approach, pioneered by Pratham and supported across the continent by TaRL Africa, which involves assessing children on foundational skills and grouping them by learning level rather than age or grade level for two hours per day when they focus on foundational skills in reading and maths.

The programme also piloted two innovations: student teacher facilitation and a dual language approach to English learning. The dual-language approach to foundational skills in English deploys the children’s home language to assist their learning of an additional one. In KaLMA, Hausa is used as a bridge to learning English.

Due to COVID-19 related school closures, the pilot was put on hold from April to December 2020 and resumed in schools in January 2021. During school closures, the KaLMA team pivoted the programme to support the Kano State Government’s endeavours to help children to continue learning from home. A package of remote support reached 4.8 million households including radio broadcasts, text messages, automated voice messages (AVMs), and a toll-free line was developed to provide Home Based Learning (HBL) assistance to families.

Educators were also supported during school closures with continuing professional development (CPD) delivered via WhatsApp, text messages, and AVM in Maths and English. The Strengthening Teachers English Proficiency (STEP) materials, developed by the British Council, were deployed for the English CPD for their contextual relevance.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and lessons learned about the importance of home engagement during the school closure period, the most utilised components of the of the home-based learning package of support ,text messaged and radio broadcast, as well as request worksheets for home continued to be provided in 2021 alongside the in-school KaLMA programme.

FCDO Nigeria initiated the KaLMA programme, in order to demonstrate and trial approaches on effective teaching and learning practices to raise learning levels, particularly in the upper primary grades, through a government-led, scalable and sustainable accelerated learning model, which reached over 30,000 pupils and 181 schools.

Results from the programme have been extremely encouraging with significant learning gains recorded for all three subject areas based on teacher assessment data: English recorded a 39-percentage increase in the proportion of pupils who can recognise short familiar words in English, while Hausa and Maths each recorded an 18-percentage point increase in the proportion of children able to read a Hausa paragraph or doing a simple subtraction problem respectively. In addition, an impact evaluation finds a relatively large and statistically significant impact on children’s outcomes in Maths. Following these positive learning gains, the Kano SUBEB has indicated that they intend to scale up the programme in at least two new local government areas.

Christopher Pycroft, Development Director at the British High Commission in Abuja had this to say about the KaLMA programme: “I am proud of what the Kano Literacy and Maths Accelerator has achieved.  The legacy of its achievements will live long, especially now that the Kano State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has committed to sustaining and embedding accelerated learning in Kano State education plans.”

He said, “ the programme’s composition, execution and achievements all stand out as a model of partnership and collaboration. This is in no small part down to the fantastic delivery partners such as the Kano SUBEB, the British Council and TaRL Africa, who were critical to KaLMA’s success. I look forward to the UK supporting many more opportunities like this to make a real tangible positive difference to the lives and futures of girls and boys in Kano and across education in Nigeria.”

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