Northern Education Initiative Plus

More than 30 percent of school-aged children in Northern Nigeria do not have access to basic education. This is attributed to a combination of factors, including cultural attitudes, lack of educational facilities and insecurity as a result of the insurgency.

The quality of education is also much to be desired. Factors contributing to this include: Inadequate teacher preparedness and low motivation; lack of quality teaching and learning materials; insufficient funding to education; and inadequate parental and community support.

To address these challenges, the Nigeria Northern Education Initiative Plus (NEI+) program seeks to improve access and quality of education for more than 2 million school-aged children and youth in two northern states.

Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the five-year program will strengthen the states’ ability to provide quality education—especially for girls, orphans and children enrolled in nontraditional schools—and improve children’s reading skills. NEI+ will be implemented in Bauchi and Sokoto states.

Creative Associates International will implement NEI+ by using its “whole child, whole teacher, whole school, and whole system approach,” which addresses critical supply and demand factors that affect learning, teaching, management, parental participation and responsiveness to children’s needs.

Partnering with Creative are three U.S.-based international organizations—Education Development Center (EDC), Florida State University (FSU), Overseas Strategic Consulting (OSC)—and four local organizations—Value Minds, Association for Education Development Options (AEDO), Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA)and the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN).

Creative and its partners will focus on building programmatic ownership among federal, state and Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs), as well as increase their commitment to quality early grade reading instruction and increased access.

The project seeks to strengthen LGEA’s ability to better train and manage teachers, along with improving their capability to plan, budget and deliver on professional development, ensure school governance, mobilize community support for learning and the timely distribution of materials.

The USAID-supported program will train and equip around 20,000 teachers and learning facilitators (LFs) who can reach children in schools, and non-formal learning centers.

By incorporating early grade reading instruction concepts, techniques, practice, and materials into national teacher training programs, graduates will be equipped with a full set of instructional skills that will have a direct and positive impact on their students’ primary school learning outcomes.

NEI+ seeks to reach nearly 1.4 million children in first to third grades, along with more than 400,000 out-of-school children and youth attending some 11,000 non-formal learning centers, adolescent girls learning centers and youth learning centers.

NEI+ builds on past successes

The program builds on the highly successful Nigeria Northern Education Initiative (NEI), which strengthened basic education systems in Bauchi and Sokoto by increasing access to quality basic education and social services.

Led by Creative and funded by USAID, the four-and-a-half-year NEI project worked at the state level to build and improve teacher education and educational systems with a focus on learning, teaching, school management, parental participation and responsiveness to children’s needs.

NEI developed activity-based training manuals and trained 3,568 educators on how to teach literacy, math and life skills and provide psychosocial counseling to orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). It also succeeded in integrating core basic education subjects into Qur’anic schools’ curricula, and worked with communities to provide care and support for OVCs.

To learn more about teacher engagement and improving their skills, please view this short video and read this article.

To learn more about Qur’anic schools, please view this short video.

The original NEI project saw a 33 percent boost in student enrollment in the states of Bauchi and Sokoto, with girls representing an impressive 38 percent jump. The NEI program concluded in 2014.


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