In Sub-Saharan Africa, most children are not able to read at their grade level. Limited numbers of trained teachers have been a core reason for low reading skills at primary levels, and many primary education-focused interventions aim at improving teacher skills through teacher trainings; but other country-specific barriers also exist. This extended abstract discusses three ongoing evaluation examples from Malawi, Somalia, And Kenya where teacher trainings are augmented with a variety of additional activities to improve reading skills. Reading scores increased with intervention in Malawi and Somalia, but declined in Kenya. What explains the results? Through in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis, the paper concludes that improving teaching skills through teacher trainings is necessary but not sufficient alone to adequately increase primary reading skills. Teacher trainings need to be complemented with additional activities that address other relevant barriers such as the lack of economic and educational resources. To do this, the add-ons should be well chosen based on contextspecific needs assessments and a clear theory of change framework.

Published in: London International Conference on Education (LICE-2016)

  • Date of Conference: 14-17 November 2016
  • DOI: 10.2053/LICE.2016.0027
  • ISBN: 978-1-908320-76-6
  • Conference Location: Heathrow Windsor Marriott Hotel, UK