Cameroon: Reading Proficiency - Minedub, Nascent Solutions Organise School Quiz

The competition on May 25, 2021 in Belabo, Lom and Djerem Division of the East Region, saw the participation of primary schools pupils.

Given the inability by many parents to buy textbooks for their children and the resultant negative impact on pupils' ability to read, the Ministry of Basic Education, MINEDUB, and the international Non-governmental Organisation, Nascent Solutions, have decided to address the problem. It was in this wise that Nascent Solutions from April-May 2021 distributed 100,156 copies of 97 locally-published illustrated story books appropriate for all classes of nursery and primary school.

Earlier Book Donation

Worth 144 million FCFA, 73,565 copies of the books went to the North Region, 20,649 to Adamawa, and 14,232 to the East Region. The donation was part of the five-year McGovern-Dole, MGD, Food for Education and Child Nutrition Programme funded by the United States Department for Agriculture, USDA and implemented in Cameroon by Nascent Solutions. As follow-up to this gesture, Nascent and the East Regional Delegation of Basic Education on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, organised a reading competition for six project primary schools from Lom and Djerem Division.

Quiz As Follow-up

The event was hosted 81 km from Bertoua, the regional headquarters, by Enfant Jésus Catholic Primary School, Belabo. Participants also came from Holy Spirit Catholic School, Diang, Government Bilingual Practising School, Belabo, Government School, Gbakombo, Government School, Bonis and Government School, Zocklingang. The tough quiz comprised reading and listening comprehension, and reading, with three pupils from each school taking part. They represented classes one and two, three and four, and five and six.

Proud Winning Schools, Pupils

At the end, prizes, including school bags and exercise books, were distributed to winners and other participants. Rayane Ibrahima of Government School, Gbakombo came first for classes one and two. Takuele Mathias of Government School, Bonis was second; while Bissai Nkend Naomie of Enfant Jésus Catholic School, Belabo was third.

For classes three and four, Mebika Menelite of Holy Spirit Catholic School, Diang took the first prize. Followed by Edda Ambada of Enfant Jésus Catholic School, Belabo and Boma Maeva of Government School, Bonis in third place. Finally, for classes five and six, Bidjombe Kris Mirone of Government Bilingual Practising School, Belabo was number one. While Gadai Bai Ranane of Government School, Gbakombo was second; and Ndingo Ndango Darrio of Government School, Bonis, third.

Reading, The Basis Of All Learning

Mbezelle Madeleine, Inspector of Primary and Nursery Education for Belabo Subdivision, expressed gratitude for the initiative, saying it will encourage children to put more efforts into reading. "A child who cannot read is illiterate in all subjects. Reading is the basis of all learning. If a child is unable to read, they will find it difficult to understand other subjects," Mbezelle stressed. She felicitated Nascent for the recent distribution of story books to schools in the East Region. A child who has access to quality reading material will do better in class, Mbezelle insisted. She urged Nascent to extend its assistance to more schools in the region.

French, Not A Major Obstacle

Tabufor Josephine Manka'a epouse Neba, Head Teacher of Government Bilingual Practising School, Belabo, was full of joy that the best pupil for classes five and six in the competition came from her school. "Though the contest was in French, our pupils who study in English still did well. News of the quiz will spread and more pupils will be moved to work harder in order to win prizes and thereby reduce the financial burden on their parents," Tabufor noted.

Expansion Of Quiz Possible

Biyong Biyong Jean Pierre, Nascent Solutions Field Coordinator for East Region said he was satisfied with the quiz. "It will certainly encourage pupils to develop more interest in reading, thereby attaining Nascent's objective of organising the competition," Biyong said.

"It was the first time for us to organise such a quiz in the East Region. We hope to increase the number of pupils and schools in future; and eventually hold it at the regional level if the means permit," Biyong added.

Little Literacy "Revolution"

"Nascent is revolutionizing literacy education for children in the East Region. I encourage the public to support our efforts. For now, we support18 project schools in the region, but would like to increase the number in future," Biyong concluded.

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