Improving reading outcomes in the early years of primary school: Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal (2013-2016)

“Learning outcomes in early grades: integration of curriculum, teaching, learning materials and assessment” is a project led by the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (UNESCO-IBE) and sponsored by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) aimed at improving students’ reading outcomes in the first three grades of primary school in Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal.



Context and justification of the project


Various assessments conducted at national and international levels (PASEC, EGRA, ASER, etc.) have revealed the low learning outcomes in reading for primary school students from Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal. These three countries have comparable educational and social realities, and have expressed a need for increased efforts in this domain, given that acquiring the basic reading skills in the early years of primary school has a determining impact on all other learning outcomes.


What would constitute a good curriculum and which essential elements should be taken into account to achieve quality in the teaching/learning of reading? What are the implications of teaching reading to children whose native language is not the same as the language of instruction and who may not possess the prerequisite foundational reading skills due to limited access to pre-primary education? Through this project, the IBE will formulate recommendations on methods and elements to promote efficient teaching/learning of reading and support countries in their current efforts to improve curricula (revision and production of new curricular documents, revision of teacher training, etc.).

Expected outcomes and main activities


The goal of this three-year project is to conduct several complementary actions to improve reading outcomes in early grades. It notably aims to:


  • Strengthen capacities of local actors (curriculum planners, teacher trainers, etc…)
  • Improve existing curricula and produce new teacher training modules
  • Produce new curricular guidelines for reading, which would be distributed to all primary school teachers (years 1,2 and 3)


In the framework of this project, the IBE is collaborating closely with national teams from the ministries of education of Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal, as well as with other partners such as AFD, OIF and several universities – the University of Geneva (Switzerland), University of Sidney (Australia), University of Koudougou (Burkina Faso), University of Cheikh Anta Diop (Senegal) and University of Abdou Moumouni (Niger).


In the course of the three years, the project will focus on developing:


  • Production and training workshops
  • Technical assistance
  • Visits to the field (field research)
  • New partnerships and network
  • Studies and international experts’ meetings
  • Dissemination of the results of activities