Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Literacy studies from Nigeria

The summary of the brief report is available here.

The first study, conducted by Isaac Adetunji Olaofe, examined public schools and illiteracy in Zaria, northern Nigeria. This action research was undertaken to get first-hand information about literacy teaching in five primary schools. The researchers set out to study teachers and students of English and aimed at better understanding the constraints each group faces.

To achieve these goals, inventory schedules were designed to record the materials and equipment in each classroom. In addition, an observation schedule through one school year allowed the research team to code activities during lesson presentations and to record classroom actions. In part, the researchers' findings revealed the following information: (a) All of the primary schools were deficient in the basic infrastructural facilities that make learning conducive, such as access roads, buildings, furniture, and toilets. Many classrooms lacked window covers, doors, ceilings, and basic items such as tables and chairs, and children generally sat on the floor. (b) The schools had very little in common in terms of ideas for teaching literacy. Working more in isolation, teachers did not share teaching experiences with one another. (c) Literacy materials were almost nonexistent. Copies of the sole text that was used were in short supply, and children were not allowed to take them home. (d) The schools lacked libraries and other teaching materials. (e) Lead teachers, inspectors, and supervisors saw themselves as administrative heads of a top-down administration and were less concerned about literacy development than with handing down directives. (f) Parental or home support was found to be extremely limited. (g) High absenteeism rates, especially during the planting and harvesting seasons (when student attendance fell below 50%) were credited to parental dissatisfaction with student progress. (h) Corruption was widespread, and most of the resources allocated for education did not reach the classrooms.

1 comment:

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