When you can read you can learn to do anything.
Reading lays the foundation for success in school and in life. Despite this widely recognized tenet, around the world, too many primary students either do not know how to read or read below their grade level.
In Nepal, results from a nationally-representative early grade reading assessment conducted with USAID’s support in 2014 showed that more than one-third of grade 2 students and nearly one fifth of grade 3 students could not read a single word of connected text, such as a short story. Students in both grades also had difficulty with reading comprehension—half of grade 2 and more than a quarter of grade 3 students were unable to answer even one comprehension question.
Recently, though, the tide is turning.
Concerned by the 2014 assessment findings, the Government of Nepal committed to ensuring that all children in Nepal develop the foundational skill of reading. As a result, teachers are adopting better ways to teach and communities are actively engaged in improving reading outcomes. These changes have contributed to promising improvements in children’s learning:
Between the program’s baseline and midline evaluations in 2016 and 2018, the percentage of students demonstrating reading fluency and comprehension of grade level text at the end of grade 2 nearly doubled.
Since April 2015, USAID’s Early Grade Reading Program (EGRP) has been partnering with the Nepal Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MOEST) and other partners to develop an early grade reading program that the Government of Nepal can replicate and expand to all districts of the country in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.
EGRP is primarily focused on building the government’s capacity to:
- Increase the proportion of grade 1–3 public primary students who can read and understand grade-level text
- Improve national and sub-national early grade reading service delivery
- Increase family and community support for early grade reading
EGRP is active in 16 districts: Banke, Bardiya, Bhaktapur, Dadeldhura, Dang, Dhankuta, Dolpa, Kailali, Kanchanpur, Kaski, Manang, Mustang, Parsa, Rupandehi, Saptari, and Surkhet.