The Strengthening Education in the Northeast Nigeria States (SENSE), facilitated by the Northeast's leading development agency - the Atiku Institute for Leadership (AID) of the American University of Nigeria, was successfully concluded on September 22, 2022, at the end of its three-year mission cycle.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded the project with the technical support of the Adamawa and Gombe States' Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEB) and the States' Colleges of Education. USAID-SENSE, which kicked off in March 2019, achieved and exceeded benchmarks by reaching a satisfactory conclusion, increasing levels of learning, reading, and professional skills using the best global practices for learners and teachers of early grades across the two states.
During the close-out ceremony, which took place at the AUN Hotel Conference Center, the SENSE team, led by the Program's Chief of Party, Dr. Audu Liman, handed over copies of Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) to Nigeria's newest USAID-funded educational intervention, the Leveraging Education Assistance Resources in Nigeria (LEARN to Read Activity) to scale up technical assistance. Over 5.2 copies of the TLMs in the Hausa language were developed and produced by AUN to set thousands of children off on a lifetime of reading using the USAID theory and guidelines for reading and learning in indigenous languages.
Education, a crucial component of every nation's growth, has experienced some level of decline in Nigeria. In the Northeast, a high level of insurgency, among other factors, is considered one of the main concerns that have negatively impacted education in the Northeast. To stop and reverse the decline, USAID partnered with the Atiku Institute to raise the standard of education in the Northeast and ensure that future generations of young people have access to a quality education that is secure and equitable. Interim President of AUN President, Professor Attahir Yusuf, commended USAID for entrusting the Atiku Institute with the responsibility of delivering quality education to the community. He said the partnership sits well with the institution's aspirations as a Development University.
"I am pleased that the US government brought a well thought out and integrated intervention scheme because it is both our individual and collective responsibility to step up and focus significantly on the education of the Nigerian society. We will work to ensure it is sustained and continues to thrive further because AUN places a high priority on sustainability."
For three years, the SENSE Activity has significantly improved reading abilities among over 400,000 learners in primary grades 1, 2, and 3 in the states, using a teaching method and approach which utilizes critical evidence-based interventions to deliver high-quality and accessible education that responds to the needs of all children.
About 9,700 primary school teachers across 335 schools in Adamawa and Gombe states also received training to develop their teaching skills. SENSE ensured the equipment of Resource Centers across local governments in the two beneficiary states for professional development.
The SENSE Project Lead, Dr. Audu Liman, disclosed that the project recorded a success rate beyond the expected target. He said this was achieved due to the hard work and commitment of thousands of teachers who applied the teaching methods, school supervisors, the States' Ministries of Education, Educational Secretaries, and parents.
USAID Representative Lynda Ashaolu also lauded the project's success and its team players' dedication. She affirmed that USAID would continue to offer its contributions to human capital development in Nigeria and globally.
"USAID's educational strategy emphasizes education as the foundational driver for every country's growth and development trajectory. Investing in high-quality education for all children and youth builds the human capital which countries need to lead their development and growth."
The ceremony was attended by senior AUN management, including Interim President Attahir Yusuf, the Registrar and Vice President for Administration, Professor Anthony Fadaka; the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Professor Patrick Fay and the Director of AUN Security, Dr. Lionel Rawlins. Also present were Program Officers from USAID, Educational Stakeholders, and Secretaries from the two states.
Reported by Tina Bitrus