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At her primary school in Ndiebel, western Senegal, Marietou Diagne has seen a sharp improvement in her young pupils’ grasp of the basics of reading since she adopted a new approach to teaching two years ago.
Children in the first three grades now study in Wolof, their mother tongue, before switching to French, the country’s main language of instruction. Based on these stronger foundations, the aim is to improve the children’s learning and progression through the education system.
“I’ve seen real advances,” says Diagne. “The children are much more at ease and grasp the essentials very quickly. They take books home and their family can help them read. I’ve even had a couple of parents say the younger children are better at reading than their older brothers and sisters.”