How TaRL Transformed Nasiru’s Learning Journey

Nasiru Mustapha, a learner in the TaRL program in Kano, Nigeria. Photo: TaRL Africa

Meet Nasiru Mustapha, a Dawakin Tofa Model Primary School learner in Kano State, Nigeria. Just a year ago, school was a daunting place for Nasiru, especially when it came to reading. He struggled to keep up with his classmates and found no joy in the act of reading itself. The long closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic only worsened his situation, leaving him far behind in his educational journey.

But fortune smiled upon Nasiru when his school became part of the Teaching at the right level (TaRL) Kano Literacy and Numeracy Accelerator (KaLMA) program. Led by the Kano State Universal Basic Education Board, Ministry of Education, Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education, and in collaboration with the British Council and Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa, this program was his ticket to reclaiming his learning losses.

Nasiru was assessed and immediately enrolled at beginner letter level in the program to receive the essential foundational literacy and numeracy skills he desperately needed. Starting from the basics, he learned to identify letters and words, gradually progressing to reading sentences in both Hausa and English. The progress he made filled him with pride as he looked back at how far he had come.

Nasiru Mustapha in class. Photo: TaRL Africa

“Nasiru started off at beginner level, where he could only identify letters and words. He could not read a sentence either in Hausa or English,” said Mr. Sabiu Mohammed, the school’s Head Teacher.

Nasiru’s reading skills continued to improve, enabling him to comprehend other subjects with ease. Mathematics, in particular, became a joy for him as he eagerly looked forward to the fun and play-based learning and use of  bundles and sticks for addition and subtraction—a TaRL classroom activity that quickly became his favorite. His math grades soared alongside his confidence.

But Nasiru’s journey didn’t stop at the school gates. Teachers provided him and his fellow learners with engaging worksheets to continue learning beyond school hours. He took this opportunity to go the extra mile, becoming a mentor to his younger brother. With enthusiasm, he taught his sibling how to read the syllable chat, where he helps him recognize syllables in words, making spelling and reading an easier task for children.

“When I do my homework, my brother comes to where I am. My assignments are interesting and I find myself teaching him how to identify letters and numbers. When he starts school he will be topping his class,” he adds with a smile.

In his everyday life, Nasiru’s newfound math skills became a valuable asset.  When sent by his parents to the shop, he now returns home with the correct change from the money given to him. Gone are the days when shopkeepers took advantage of his innocence, and not give him the correct change, which would often get him into trouble.

“Nasiru has been progressing well through the TaRL program and his academic performance is improving. He has emerged as a beacon of inspiration, radiating confidence and academic excellence,” said Mr. Sabiu Mohammed, the school’s Head Teacher.

Nasiru Mustapha’s success story is a testament to the transformative power of TaRL. His journey serves as a reminder that with the right support and opportunities, every child can unlock their full potential and shine brightly in education.

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Dianarose Odhiambo is the Communications Associate for TaRL Africa.

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