Building a University Partnership to Support Early Grade Reading in Nigeria
The Case of the Nigeria Centre for Reading, Research and Development
Keywords:capacity development, higher education, literacy, Nigeria, university partnerships
While most international educational development projects are engaged in capacity development, trainings rarely have enough depth to result in lasting changes in the capacity of local stakeholders. The case of the Nigeria Centre for Reading, Research and Development (NCRRD) at Bayero University Kano used a different model. Six NCRRD faculty spent six months at Florida State University (FSU) attending courses on literacy and elementary education, attending grant writing trainings and reading seminars, observing literacy instruction in schools, and participating in conferences. After returning to Nigeria, the fellows were mentored by FSU faculty through the stages of a research project; all fellows subsequently submitted articles to international journals. FSU supported the administrative structures of NCRRD, assisting in the development of financial and compliance infrastructure. The outcomes of the partnership included 1) the establishment of the NCRRD as a center for excellence in reading in West Africa, 2) the publication of contextually relevant literature to inform policymakers and practitioners, and 3) the establishment of graduate programs in reading. This paper discusses the challenges faced by the institutions during the establishment of the NCRRD and makes recommendations for institutions interested in developing long-term international partnerships.
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