The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) under auspices of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) through the Early Reading Initiative has developed 16 Early Literacy book targeting children from 0-6 years.
The Early Reading Initiative (ERI) addresses two key gaps identified under the Zimbabwe Education Learning Assessment (ZELA) which identified that teaching of reading was found to be diminishing over the years leading to poor performance in public examinations at all levels, hence the need for intervention strategies to address the crisis from the early learning grades. Secondly ZELA also identified that there was not enough reading books for the early learners to encourage reading, especially between parents and their children. The ERI was supported under the GPE Component 1 for the Professional Development for Better Teaching and Learning.
The ERI is to strengthen reading for infants (Early Childhood Development A to Grade 2) by working through the Better Schools Programme of Zimbabwe (BSPZ) for teacher professional development in schools and clusters. In 2016, All Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers in Zimbabwe were trained and in that process the Ministry saw the needs to complement the ERI further with parental and child involvement.
In November 2018, the Ministry held a workshop that identified the need for involving parents with their children to enhance literacy. The 16 books were conceptualised and developed for children and their families with a focus on literacy and numeracy. The books are currently under review and pre-testing with the target to complete in April 2019 for distribution to identified ECD Service providers such as schools, communities, clinics and other areas within communities. It is further envisaged that parents will also undergo training to be able to fully participate with their children and families.