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Code Partners With Unicef to Support Teacher Development in Sierra Leone

The program aims to provide professional development for 3,514 early-grade teachers in literacy and numeracy instruction to improve student learning outcomes.

CODE has been selected to provide technical and implementation support to UNICEF in response to a program funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to improve early-grade literacy and numeracy in Sierra Leone.

The year-long program aims to train 3,514 class 1 - 3 teachers in literacy and numeracy instruction; develop communities of practice; and distribute essential readers with the aim to improve learning outcomes for over 140,000 students at 870 schools in Kenema, Pujehun and Moyamba districts.

Learning outcomes for early-grade primary school students need to be strengthened as students are presently not attaining the skills they need to succeed in upper-level schooling and for economic, social and civic participation.

An assessment conducted by CODE as part of the World Bank-funded REACH program (2018-2020), showed that a majority of students in primary classes 1- 4 demonstrated little (or no) ability to write common monosyllabic words after 2 years in school. They showed limited familiarity with letters and were unable to associate the sounds of letters with usual words.

Teachers are critical to the learning process, yet Sierra Leone’s Education Sector Plan estimates that 39% of teachers lack teaching qualifications.  The Global Partnership for Education notes that, “beyond any other school-based factor, teacher effectiveness has been found to be the most important predictor of student learning.”  Through this program, CODE will support both pre-service and in-service teachers to build competencies in early-grade primary reading and numeracy instruction.

Together with expanded enrolment, a positive result of the Government of Sierra Leone’s prioritization of education, is the need for improved quality of instruction in Sierra Leone’s primary schools. This is identified as an urgent national priority, and as such, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education is a lead partner in the implementation of this program.

The program began June 2021 and is slated to conclude in July 2022.

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