Airtel Networks Zambia has partnered with the “Let’s Read” project being rolled out in five provinces in Zambia by providing more than 2 000 data SIM cards.

The project which is a USAID-funded five-year project that is led by the Education Development Center,(EDC) is aimed at improving the reading outcomes for approximately 1.4 million children attending pre-primary schools through Grade 3.

Speaking yesterday as the guest of honour at the handover ceremony of materials for the project, Education Minister Dr Dennis Wanchinga said: “I am happy to note that the focus has been shifted to the improvement of literacy to early childhood education and grades 1 to 3 levels in particular. The focus on the teaching of literacy in the lower grades will guarantee improved learning outcomes in the higher grades.”

Airtel’s enterprise business director Muyunda Munyinda, who handed over the data SIM cards to the minister, said: “Beyond what we do as a business, in providing telecommunication services, we pay extra attention to education which is one of our corporate social responsibility (CSR) focus areas. So today is a great joy for us to be presenting the 2 000-plus data SIM cards to the ‘Let’s Read’ project.

“We continue to invest in our network and today we have the widest 4G coverage that will facilitate the capture of data required in this project, which is initially targeting schools in Eastern, Muchinga, Southern, North-Western and Western provinces.”

US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires David Young said the teaching and learning materials received and passed on to the Ministry of General Education would open minds, expand horizons, and introduce millions of primary school children across Zambia to new worlds and opportunities.

“In partnership with the Ministry of General Education, the ‘Let’s Read’ project will train more than 20 000 teachers and, most importantly, improve the reading skills of more than 1.4 million pupils by the close of the project in 2024,” Young said.

The project will also provide professional development for teachers to support reading interventions in Zambian public and community schools.

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