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USAID Collaboration with Nigeria’s Bayero University in Kano Strengthens Early Grade Reading in Nigeria

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Professors Amina Adamu (left) and Aisha Umar Tsiga (second right) of BUK, with Stephanie Zuilkowski (second left), and Adrienne Barnes (right) of Florida State University, at the Learning Systems Institute on the FSU campus in Tallahassee, Florida.

Over the past three years, a unique collaboration between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Nigeria’s Bayero University in Kano (BUK), and Florida State University (FSU) in the United States has helped Africa’s most populous country strengthen its ability to teach early grade reading, the foundation of lifelong learning.

This activity supported the training and mentorship of six BUK Faculty Fellows on cutting-edge research, teacher training, and the process of publishing academic articles during a six-month residency at the FSU Learning Systems Institute. The partnership culminated in establishment of a new Nigerian Center for Reading Research and Development on the BUK campus.

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A participant speaks at the First National Conference on Children’s Books and the Teaching of Early Grade Reading in Nigeria, organized by the NCRRD in August 2019.

“This new focus on raising this quality of teaching and learning was borne out of the realization that reading is fundamental to education,” said Prof. Muhammad Yahuza Bello, Vice-Chancellor of BUK. “No nation can achieve meaningful development without inculcating effective reading skills amongst its growing generations.”Now a permanent part of the BUK community, the new Research Center will facilitate research on all matters that affect reading and the teaching of early grade reading in Nigeria. The six BUK Faculty Fellows are thought leaders, researchers and champions for the adoption of the best teaching and learning practices in reading throughout Nigeria.During their time on the Tallahassee, Florida campus, the BUK Fellows participated in scholarly activities, published journal articles, and presented their work at educational forums.In coordination with other USAID activities, the fledgling Center hosted two national conferences attended by more than 800 education stakeholders at the national, state, and local levels to share and publicize reading research findings for the Nigerian context.

Professor Umar Kabir, one of the first two NCRRD fellows who had advanced training at the Florida State University, stands in front of the Westcott Fountain at FSUImage for post


“At USAID we have a passion for education and high hopes for its future in Nigeria,” Mission Director Stephen M. Haykin said. “In that spirit, this partnership played a critical role in ensuring the next generation of Nigerian children is equipped with the reading skills that will serve as the basis for a lifetime of learning.”The partnership promises to benefit education in Nigeria for years to come, having developed a new cadre of leaders and trainers in reading research who will champion the advancement of high-quality reading instruction, learning and research for future generations of teachers in primary grade reading strategies to effectively teach more children to enjoy a lifetime of reading.The Center also serves as a clearinghouse where education stakeholders can leverage data and approaches to effect positive changes in the classroom and improve learning across Nigeria through stronger reading curricula for millions of students.


Nigeria’s education system is challenged to keep pace with its rapidly growing population. USAID works to strengthen state and local education systems in partnership with all Nigerians. The Center is an important step forward to deepening early grade reading resources available in Nigeria.

The NCRRD building under construction earlier this year. Its permanent presence will help improve reading instruction in Nigeria for decades to come.
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U.S. Mission Nigeria






United States Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria. For official information visit