Children were not reading in our schools, but they are doing so now in schools with the coming of KaLMA. Some of the parents I spoke to are impressed with the way they see children from KaLMA implementation schools doing KaLMA activities at home and in the communities.

Headteacher from a KaLMA school


Life cycle





Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Partners: Kano State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Ministry of Education and Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education,  British Council, Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa.


To build foundational Maths, Hausa, and English literacy skills for more than 37,000 Primary four to Primary six girls and boys in two full local government areas of Kano State, Nigeria. 


Before the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, Kano State was taking measures to address the challenge of equipping children with literacy and numeracy skills. 

In response to this, the FCDO-funded Kano Literacy and Mathematics Accelerator (KaLMA) was launched in October 2019 across Kano State. The programme is rooted in 'teaching at the right level' evidence and approach, which involves assessing children on foundational skills and grouping them by learning level rather than age or grade level. This runs for two hours per day, focussing on foundational skills in reading and numeracy.


During COVID-related school closures in 2020, the KaLMA project pivoted to support the Kano State Government’s endeavours to help children continue learning from home. A package of remote support including radio broadcasts, text messages, automated voice home-based learning assistance messages (AVM) and a toll-free line were developed and provided to families in Wudil and Dawakin Tofa. Educators were also supported with continuing professional development (CPD) in Maths and English during school closures, delivered via WhatsApp and text messages. KaLMA also launched two innovations, student-teacher facilitation and a dual language approach to English learning. The dual-language approach to foundational skills in English deploys the children’s home language to assist their learning of an additional language (English). This is carried out by listening and doing.


The in-school KaLMA programme resumed in January 2021 whilst still being supported by the home-based learning components. In just two terms, learning outcomes increased by 20 per cent, with around 50 per cent of the programme beneficiaries being girls. Providing foundational skills for girls helps to safeguard against early marriage, early childbearing and social exclusion by ensuring that girls progress to secondary school. Northern Nigeria has a particularly high number of child brides, therefore the KaLMA programme is helping to overcome this. 

The programme recognised that female educators had less time than their male counterparts to participate in CPD activities and attempted to find ways to facilitate their participation. Based on survey findings, CPD events and activities, such as the mid-course webinar, were scheduled at times that ensured maximum participation of female educators.

In total, 1,200 teachers, 255 head teachers and 181 schools have benefited from KaLMA so far. Plans are in place for the programme to reach an additional 3,000 teachers, 600 head teachers and 450 schools in a further five government areas in Kano.

Mutual benefit

Between May and November 2020, we worked with Kano SUBEB and TaRL Africa to provide English and Maths CPD to teachers in Wudil and Dawakin Tofa. This involved sharing KaLMA-adapted teaching activities and our Strengthening English Proficiency (STEP) course designed for Kano State under the FCDO-funded Teacher Development Programme (TDP).