In 2018, an assessment was carried out on learners from Bungoma, Turkana and Tana River. The results revealed that children in Grades 3 to 8 were falling behind their grade level expectations.
More specifically, of the learners assessed, only three out five could read a Grade 2 level text in Kiswahili. Half of the Grade 5 learners could not read a similar text in English.
Reading, writing, speaking and numeracy are among the most important skills a child can learn.
Reading helps children improve their vocabulary and language skills, develops their imagination and strengthens their oral skills. Numeracy skills on the other hand help them solve problems in their day to day lives.
For this reason, Safaricom Foundation and Zizi Afrique have been on a mission to help children who lag behind from these regions improve their basic numeracy and literacy skills.
Through the Accelerated Learning Programme, children, especially from lower income households and Arid and Semi-Arid counties are enjoying equal innovative educational and opportunities that enable them to build a solid foundation to learn.
The results are tremendous. More than 4,500 learners have benefitted from the programme. Their class attendance and participation has increased and most importantly, parents are getting involved and supporting their children.
Dr Sarah Ruto, who heads the Accelerated Learning Programme, says one of the biggest achievements the programme has had is instilling confidence in the learners, who can now read basic text fluently and have joined reading clubs.
Within 30 days, children are able to read and learn basic numeracy through literacy and numeracy camps organized by the programme.
Today, the world celebrates International Literacy Day under the theme “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond”, which makes it an opportune moment to reflect on the Accelerated Learning Programme.
As Kenya continues to make strides in education, the COVID-19 crisis has revealed the stark inequalities in education opportunities for learners across the country.
It has exposed education’s digital divide, where learners in some rural areas lack devices and connection to learn remotely.
However, to enable learners to continue with their lessons, ALP structured lessons through radio, which Safaricom provided for the families. They have also been provided with books so that while at home, they can continue to practice reading and writing.