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Primary schooling

Juba Conference Conclusions

In March, the British Council hosted a conference in Juba on the Language-in-Education policy of South Sudan. The conference was attended by experts in the field from a variety of organizations including ACALAN UNESCO, UNICEF and SIL. This document is the result of much research and collaboration and outlines guiding principles for the development of policies related to language-in-education which the contributing partners believe should be used in South Sudan and other contexts.


Moving towards bilingual education in Mali: Bridging policy and practice for improved reading instruction

In countries with many mother-tongue languages, supporting reading instruction in mother tongue can often seem a daunting task. At school level, teachers and school directors often don't have the linguistic ability or teaching resources to work in more than one mother tongue within a single school. At the district and regional levels, decision-makers often don't have a complete set of data about the mother tongue needs of the schools in their areas and allocating human or material resources to schools is difficult. At national levels, there is often a disconnect between a policy discourse that declares, in principle, that all mother tongues are used, and constrained sector budgets, which do not include sufficient funds to provide teacher training or instructional materials in all the languages of a particular country.

USAID/Mali's PHARE program, a five-year initiative to improve reading instruction in schools in Mali, has sought to address some of these issues through a linguistic mapping study to determine which mother tongue to use as the language of instruction.

"Strong Foundations" and "Good Bridges" in Language Education: What Can We Learn from Current Theories and Practices?

A short paper presented at the National Symposium on Language Issues and Quality Education for Ethnic Minority People, Hanoi, Vietnam, December 3-4, 2008.  

The paper presents a brief overview of current theory and practice on the topic of bridging between languages in multilingual education.

The Early Grade Reading Assessment: Applications and Interventions to Improve Basic Literacy

This book takes stock of the substantial amount of information and experience that has been generated around EGRA–the Early Grade Reading Assessment tool. 

The book has several purposes:

  1.  It seeks to elucidate particular aspects of the EGRA approach, to describe and explain how teachers, communities, development practitioners, and policy makers have applied and adjusted different elements and approaches to conducting early reading assessments. Then, drawing from these descriptions, the authors point to challenges and advantages of these adaptations. 
  2. This book also analyzes why the EGRA approach has been effective (or not) in specific contexts.

Early Grade Learning: From Assessment to Action

Apr 17 2012 8:30 am
America/New York

Although basic literacy is known to be key to economic and social development for individuals and societies, between 25 and 75 percent of children in developing nations are unable to read at grade level. As governments, international aid organizations, and others work to address this global challenge, one of the fundamental components of any education strategy is the need to accurately assess reading performance.


The National Press ClubHoleman Lounge, 529 14th Street N.W. Washington, DC


For information, contact Beth Griffin, 919.541.6920,

Multilingual Education Projects in India

This document provides an overview of all multilingual education programs in India. It provides a snapshot of the wide variety of programs run by government and private institutions.

Early grade literacy in African classrooms: Lessons learned and future directions

This transnational thematic study of early-grade literacy brings together current research findings and program outcomes in the area of early-grade literacy in African nations, to highlight lessons learned and suggest possible future direction for improving early-grade achievement in reading and writing.
This study represents some of the best current research on literacy in early primary grades in Africa, carried out by four non-government organizations that focus on literacy learning: Save the Children, RTI International, PRAESA and SIL International.

Fostering Lifelong, Independent Readers: Local Language Materials Development and Instructional Support


This is a presentation by Cory Heyman, Chief Program Officer of Room to Read, on the organization’s innovative work in supporting children’s reading across the globe. The presentation was made to the MTB-MLE Network on November 29, 2011. The presentation provides details on the principles, standards and processes that Room to Read is taking to develop local language materials that are both relevant to the context and appropriate and engaging for children’s developing reading skills.  

Teachers' Guide for the Two Track Approach - Teaching Reading and Writing in Students' First Language

A short teachers' guide for the Two-Track Approach to teaching reading and writing.  The Two-Track Approach balances the goals of reading and writing for both meaning and accuracy.  It provides overt focus on reading and writing for meaning through reading and writing meaningful stories.  Parallel focus is also given to accuracy in reading and writing through phonics and letter formation instruction.

Research Reports on Teacher Preparation and Continuing Professional Development in Africa

Reports on research conducted by the University of Sussex in 2010 and 2011 on the effectiveness of teacher pre-service training and in-service professional development in 6 African countries.  

from the Executive Summary

The Teacher Preparation in Africa (TPA) Project, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, was set up to fill the gap in knowledge about how the initial and continuing education of teachers impacts on the practice of teachers through studies in six African countries - Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.  Because of the extreme importance of early reading and mathematics for future progress, it focuses on the preparation that teachers who teach in the lower primary grades receive and what support is available through continuing professional development (CPD) and other routes to teach these subjects.

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