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First anniversary of the project “Learning outcomes in reading in early grades: integration of curriculum, teaching, learning materials and assessment”

Improving reading outcomes in the early years of primary school in Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal: this is the challenge that the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (UNESCO-IBE) has committed to in partnership with the Ministries of Education of Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal, with the support of the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and experts from Koudougou University (Burkina Faso) Abdou Moumouni University (Niger) and the Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal). The UNESCO-IBE today celebrates the first anniversary of this three-year project sponsored by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), implemented since November 2013, and which is already showing promising results.

During this first year, the UNESCO-IBE increased knowledge and understanding on issues and challenges of teaching and learning to read through capacity building and by conducting a diagnostic study. This study encompasses two complementary components: an international comparative analysis on reading and a detailed analysis of the national reading curricula (curricula, textbooks and teacher guides), building on a wide range of curricular documents (more than 200), observations of reading teaching practices in classrooms (36), and interviews with directors of schools (36), teachers (72), and international expert meetings and seminars (2). The report produced (220 pages) constitutes a solid basis of information and for reflection on what learning to read in a multilingual context means and on the fundamental elements to be taken into account to improve reading outcomes in each of the participating countries. Its findings and recommendations have allowed ministries of education of Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal to plan informed changes in their curriculum.

As a result the education ministries of the three countries have developed action plans, as part of the project to contribute to the improvement of learning outcomes in reading in the first three grades of primary school, which will be implemented throughout the next two years.