New program promises early grade literacy reform in Mozambique
February 6, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new early grade literacy program is assisting the Government of Mozambique to build a strong bilingual education framework for national expansion, Creative Associates International announced
The Mozambique “Let’s Read” (Vamos Ler! in Portuguese) is a five-year program designed to develop bilingual education pedagogical tools and activities, improve national early grade literacy policies and delivery and monitoring systems, enhance school leadership and increase parental and community engagement in early grade literacy.
Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Let’s Read! assists the Government of Mozambique in delivering a quality bilingual education program for first, second and third grade students in the provinces of Nampula and Zambezia, where a baseline assessment revealed more than 90 percent of second graders could not read two words in Portuguese.
“Creative is honored to partner with USAID and the Government of Mozambique to positively influence the way early grade reading is approached and delivered throughout the country,” says Pieter Potter, who leads Let’s Read! from the capital of Maputo. “Increasing at-home support for learning, improving reading skills in the classroom and having access to bilingual materials is essential in expanding knowledge and growing young minds.”
The opportunity to inform a national literacy effort
The Government of Mozambique has committed to improving its early grade literacy outcomes through expansion of its national bilingual education program.
With the rollout of bilingual education training and a revised bilingual education curriculum in 2016-2017, the government hopes to reverse the worrisome trends plaguing its school system: fewer than half of Mozambican children complete primary school, and rates of teacher absenteeism are some of the highest in the world.
The government faces many challenges as it works toward reform. There is insufficient capacity to design and implement new programs and limited data on which to base them. Schools have gaps in resources including local-language reading materials and a limited amount of trained teachers and administrators. Furthermore, teachers, educators and parents require engagement and awareness of the value of learning to read in the local language.
Let’s Read! takes an evidence-based approach to strengthening the government’s ability to create policies, tools and approaches to early grade literacy that are flexible, results-oriented and cost-effective.
The program will simultaneously improve in-school instruction and at-home reading support in the targeted provinces, while assisting the Government of Mozambique to establish national policies and systems that lay the foundation for sustaining and expanding early grade literacy bilingual education.
Let’s Read! focuses on building the institutional capacity of Mozambique’s Ministry of Education and Human Development as it expands the country’s early grade bilingual literacy program, strengthens professional development, augments policy and research, builds its monitoring and evaluation capabilities and enhances parental and community involvement.
“Providing quality teaching and learning materials for teachers and students in languages children speak and understand is essential to the success of Let’s Read!,” says Potter. “With government ownership and leadership, the program can make lasting changes in communities and position them for sustainable, long-term success.”
Solutions that reflect the whole system
Creative will implement Let’s Read! in the provinces of Nampula and Zambezia, where students speak a variety of local languages, although most school-based instruction is still carried out in Portuguese.
Based on classroom analysis, data and best practices, the project works alongside government counterparts to develop instructional tools and learning materials in the local languages with oral language development and transition to Portuguese reading and writing in the fourth grade.
Taking a holistic “whole child, whole teacher, whole school, whole system” approach, Let’s Read! is gathering critical data to inform policies and improve student performance, with the aim to institutionalize an early grade literacy package that the government can use to optimize and sustain learning, equip teachers, involve communities and transform schools into responsive centers of learning, care and support.
Creative is implementing Let’s Read! in partnership with international organizations with expertise in strengthening education approaches and policies. These groups include the World Education, Inc., American Institutes for Research, Overseas Strategic Consulting and Blue Tree Group.