Children sitting on floor in a classroom with hands raised.

The Kano Maths and Literacy Accelerator (KaLMA) is supporting children in Kano State, Nigeria, to build the foundational and language skills they need to succeed. Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, KaLMA is a partnership between the British Council, Kano State Universal Basic Education Board, the Ministry of Education, Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education, and Teaching at the Right Level Africa. 

The catalyst

Many children in Nigeria leave primary school without basic maths and literacy skills. Kano State government was determined to change this, joining forces with the British Council and Teaching at the Right Level Africa to transform the way children are taught in upper primary schools in two local government areas, Wudil and Dawakin Tofa. 

The challenge was to implement a learning model that was both sustainable and scalable, and that would enable children to quickly build foundational skills over a short period of time. 

The spark

KaLMA brought together primary school teachers and educators, introducing them to an evidence-backed learning model based on children’s skill level rather than age or grade. It also piloted an innovative dual language approach to learning English, based on British Council findings which show that children learn best when first taught in their home language.  

Teachers received face-to-face training, new teaching materials and support from mentors and master trainers to implement these new practices in their classrooms.

When schools closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, we worked with our partners to identify accessible, low-tech delivery solutions that would enable children to continue learning at home. Through radio, texts and voice messages, we shared KaLMA-adapted learning and professional development activities with children, families and educators to ensure no one was left behind by the pandemic.  

The success 

KaLMA has boosted learning outcomes in 181 schools across Wudil and Dawakin Tofa. Between January and August 2021, when in-person teaching resumed, the number of primary school children with foundational skills in Hausa and maths grew by 18 per cent, and in English by 11 per cent. The programme’s impact on lower-level skills was even more significant, rising by 37 per cent in Hausa, 36 per cent in maths, and 39 per cent in English. 

The programme has already reached over 37,000 children and 1,200 teachers. Plans are now in place to extend its impact to 450 schools and 3,000 more teachers in five other government areas of Kano. 

Through programmes like KaLMA, we support governments and educators worldwide to enrich the quality of teaching and learning in their schools and equip young people to live and work in a global society. 

We are the partner of choice for governments, NGOs, institutions and community-based organisations around the world.  

‘Children were not reading in our schools, but they are doing so now in schools with the coming of KaLMA. Some of the parents I spoke to are impressed with the way they see children from KaLMA implementation schools doing KaLMA activities at home and in the communities.’ - Head teacher, Kano State