The Background of Tusome Early Literacy Programme in Kenya

1.0 Background:

Since Independence in 1963, the Government of Kenya has recognized the importance of education both as a basic right as well as a tool for achieving Social Economic development
The current primary school population is estimated at 10.4 million children in both public and private primary schools. This rapid growth in primary school population is largely attributed to the introduction of Free Primary Education by the Government in 2002 and other interventions. The enrolment in our schools indicate that Kenya is on track to achieve the Education For All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Commitments by 2015.

Kenya has made progress in moving forward the quality of Education. This can be reflected in the number of programmes specifically designed to address the quality issues.
MOEST has had an increasing focus on quality of education in Lower Primary, particularly in the areas of literacy and numeracy. In 2007, the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGMA) was piloted to assess literacy outcomes in Malindi. After piloting of Programmes that aimed at improving English, Kiswahili and Mathematics between 2007-2009. The country adopted the two models and carried out a research on Literacy and numeracy where the findings indicated that pupils in at class 1 to 3, have low literacy and numeracy skills. The analysis of the research suggested that Lower Primary received less interest and attention from Head teachers, parents and teachers who were found to be using instructional methods that were wanting.

The results of the studies formed the basis of the Primary Math and Reading(PRIMR) Initiative, a program implemented by MOEST with financial support from USAID and technical support from an NGO namely RTI International from 2011 to 2014. PRIMR Implementation indicated that Teacher Advisory Centre (TAC) tutors and teachers can improve the quality of Instruction and pupil outcomes significantly.

The results indicated that PRIMR initiated well designed syllabus based teacher guides, Intensive teacher training and targeted ongoing support through TAC Tutors can improve Instruction leading to significant gains in Pupil Literacy and Numeric Performance.

2.0    TUSOME Programme

The above mentioned PRIMR results were achieved using the existing MOEST and TSC personal, confirming that education quality can be achieved using innovative methods within the current structures.

In an effort to cover the gains of PRIMR, the TUSOME Programme was conceptualized and developed as a National Literacy Programme. It targets approximately 60,000 Teachers, 22,600 Schools for Improvement in Literacy Instruction and Outcomes. It is envisaged that 5.4 Million class 1 and 2 pupils will be twice as likely to meet MOEST benchmarks for literacy.

2.1    Conceptual Framework

In order to realize Vision 2030 targets, quality Education through Improved learning outcomes is critical. Improving learning outcomes is dependent  on a key set of factors that include:-
•    Improved teacher capacity for effective curriculum delivery
•    Improved    teacher    support    through    effective    supervision    and integration of ICT
•    Provision of appropriate learning materials
•    An effective monitoring and evaluation system.

2.2    The Scope

The programme will be implemented in all Public Primary Schools and 1000 alternative basic education institutions serving Low Cost Urban Settlements Countywide. The programme targets the following beneficiaries:

•    5.4 million Children in public primary schools.
•    100,000 learners in alternative basic institutions.
•    48,000 teachers in public primary schools
•    2000 Teachers in alternative basic education institutions
•    1052 Tact tutors who will participate in training and supervision
•    67 instructional coaches who will participate in implementation.

2.3    Technical Support

To ensure effective co-ordination and support, Research Triangle Initiative (RTI) will establish Regional offices at Nairobi, Machakos, Nanyuki, Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombasa, Isiolo (in CDE’s office) and Wajir (in CDE’s office).

2.4    Objectives

In order to achieve the Overall Goal of improving literacy outcomes for classes 1 and 2 pupils, the programme will:-
•    Improve teacher capacity
•    Improve access to books and supplementary material
•    Enhance    supervision    of    teachers    by    TACs,    Coaches    and Headteachers
•    Establish effective and efficient Monitoring and Evaluation system.
•    Enhance use of ICT
•    Enhance capacity of the education sector to sustainably improve literacy outcomes.

2.5    Strategies

In order to deliver on the objectives of the Programme, the following strategies will be employed:-

•    Establish Co-ordination committees at both National and County levels
•    Build capacity for effective implementation
•    Provide support and supervision
•    Provide appropriate Institutional Support Materials
•    Enhance Partnerships and Collaborations

3.0    Partners and Resource Organizations

Through RTI, Tusome Programme will be supported by the following partners

•    Women’s Educational Researchers of Kenya
•    Dalberg
•    Worldreader
•    Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO)
•    Elimu Yetu Coalition
•    National Youth Bunge Association
•    Homeboyz
•    E-limu
•    Africa Population Health Research Centre
•    Uwezo Kenya
•    Medicare
•    SIL

4.0    Outcomes

The overall goal of improved literacy outcomes for class 1 and 2 will be realized through:-

•    Improved delivery methods and instruction
•    Improved access to text books and supplementary materials
•    Enhanced support supervision of teachers by TACs, Coaches and Head teachers
•    Enhanced of ICT to support literacy
•    Enhanced capacity of education sector.

5.0      Co-ordination Structure

The programme will be coordinated by a National Steering Committee chaired by the cabinet Secretary and comprising of Senior MOEST officers, and CEOs from TSC, KNEC and MOEST SAGAs. KNUT, KEPSHA, USAID, DFID, representatives from Parliamentary Education Committee and Education Development Partners Co-ordination group.

Other Management teams include National technical Committee and County Steering Committee.

Source: Ministry of Education (2015). Brief on Tusome Early Literacy Programme. Available at: