SIL International Media Release
African advanced literacy course now in French
(August 2007) In Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, SIL African and international literacy consultants taught advanced literacy principles at phase one of Théorie et Practique d’Alphabétisation (Literacy Theory and Practice). The 24 students were educational leaders with a combined 264 years of experience in literacy programs. Together they influence educational programs meeting literacy needs in nine Francophone countries. The three-year curriculum is divided into annual month-long classes. It had been translated from a similar course in Kenya conducted in English.
One participant summarized the first-year syllabus, "At the end of this phase of training, I have the functional competencies which will enable me to:
- read the phonological studies done in the language,
- facilitate and organize orthography testing,
- plan for a sustainable literacy program,
- put together, evaluate and test appropriate teaching materials,
- organize literacy supervision,
- put in place effective and appropriate strategies for successful literacy programs and evaluate those programs."
This year's phase, held August 1-29, was the first of three. "One month in Ouagadougou made me grow a lot," wrote Akoété, from Togo, "Thank you again for all your efforts, and see you next year." The participants have returned for eleven months to their countries, communities and administrative positions. "My job now," according to Rahilla, from Niger, "is to find a way to transmit the things I've learned to every part of [my] country, first on the regional level and then on down to every literacy teacher!"
The various teaching and administrative positions represented several levels of literacy program involvement, with diverse kinds of challenges. "In the African context, illiteracy seems to be a permanent danger to the balance of every aspect of society," reported François, from Cameroon.
While making plans to return from Togo next year, Gaston wrote, "We are learning how important it is to include not only the literacy learners but also other partners, like the government, in making certain essential decisions to the well-being of the community. From now on, we will be more than supervisors; [we will be] resource people in literacy, for our community, for neighboring communities and even for NGOs which work for the same goals."