Local Language Instruction Allows Students and Parents to Engage with Learning

October 12th, 2021 | Stories


When Natércia started school in her community in Mozambique’s Zambézia Province, she was expected to learn to read and write in Portuguese, a language she did not understand. After only one semester, Natércia, whose first language is Elomwe, felt unable to continue.

“I saw sadness and fear in my daughter’s eyes when she was telling me how uncomfortable she felt at school because she could not understand teacher’s language. As a mother, it was even more painful to not know how to help her because I also couldn’t understand anything of school lessons [in Portuguese],” recalls Natércia’s mother Jamie. 

Since the Vamos Ler! (Let’s Read!) program expanded to Natércia’s school, she has been able to learn in her local language. She and the other students in grades 1 through 3 receive instruction, textbooks, and take-home reading materials in Elomwe, which has increased their confidence and engagement in learning in the classroom and at home. The fact that parents understand the lessons helps students be more prepared, too. 

Vamos Ler!, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, helps students achieve their full potential by supporting education that is accessible and relatable. World Education, Inc., as a subcontractor to Creative Associates International, implements Vamos Ler! in Zambézia, Mozambique supporting teacher training and coaching, monitoring and evaluation, and studies to inform program design and support government stakeholders and policymakers. World Education has trained approximately 5,200 teachers and school directors from 1,000 schools, reaching 328,000 students.

Once discouraged and frustrated at school, Natércia is now excited to learn. As she learns in Elomwe, she is also being prepared for the transition to schooling in Portuguese. 

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