The Nation Media Group's Newspapers in Education (NIE) programme, which aims to improve literacy and reading culture among learners in Kenyan schools, has improved language performance by 15 per cent.
NMG Head of External Affairs Clifford Machoka said the initiative, which started 14 years ago, has reached over 1,500 learning institutions in at least 40 counties and has seen steady improvement in languages by up to 15 percent after schools adopted the programme.
Speaking at Ivugwi Primary School in Kakamega during NMG's CSR day which coincided with the International Literacy Day, he noted that past studies have shown that there is a poor reading culture in Africa which has affected literacy levels.
"As NMG, we value education and use our products to positively impact society by informing, educating and entertaining audiences. Our customers who act as social licenses are some of our key stakeholders and we will continue to engage them to improve our literacy levels," he said at the school on Friday, thanking the institution for the warm welcome.
Mr Machoka said for learners across the country to improve their literacy skills, they should be exposed to reading from formative stages.
“In our program through partnership we provide textbooks and library books which have tremendously improved learning in schools and we shall continue reaching out to more learning institutions," he said during the event where NMG planted trees and donated textbooks and library books in partnership with Giants Group of Nairobi - Twiga and Shree Vanik Vaishnav Mahajan.
NMG Foundation Programs Manager Daisy Maina urged the learners to improve their reading skills, saying that improved literacy levels will expand opportunities.
"Books are very important and we should read as much as we can because it opens more doors of opportunities. We will continue partnering with you and equipping libraries across the country to entrench the culture of reading," she said.
NMG's Head of Corporate Affairs, Kinya Gitonga, encouraged learners to nurture their talents while at school.
"Learners should also nurture and exploit their talents while in school and at the end they will reap just like the accomplished athletes in the country," she said.
North Rift Regional Editor Caroline Wafula said the day was an auspicious moment for NMG because it underscored the need to give back to society.
"We live as part of the society, there is a need to give back to the community and in doing so we alleviate some of the pertinent challenges that we experience. We are humbled to be able to fulfil the school's request and we ask them to use the books and improve performance," she said.
Residents of the area, led by Likuyani community leader Bonvencha Lugado, hailed NMG for being at the forefront of CSR in the region.
"There are a dozen media houses but none has ever visited the area as part of their CSR and as a community we are sure the donation will go a long way in alleviating the challenges the school has been facing. We are sure it will improve the performance of the school," he said.
While appreciating NMG's gesture, the school's head teacher, Ms Jesica Iyadi, said it would come as a great financial relief to the 890-pupil school.
"The books will help us to concentrate fully on learning as we now have adequate materials to teach and for the students to revise. This will improve their performance because it will encourage them to work hard," she said.