Jane Olatunji Hughes
This profile was prepared when Jane Olatunji Hughes was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1992.
The New Idea
In response to the staggeringly high illiteracy rates in Nigeria, and in particular, the failure of public schools to teach reading even to their graduates, Jane Olantuji Hughes has been at work on several fronts to promote the teaching of reading in Nigeria's schools. Jane has developed several beginning reading texts for primary schools as well as textbooks for teachers on how to teach reading. But the central thrust of her work is organizing a series of workshops for primary school teachers.The program Jane started, called the Literature Awareness Program (L.A.P.), began by organizing workshops for the teachers at the school where she served as headmistress. Groups of teachers from participating schools are taught techniques of teaching reading and also shown how to create materials in the classroom, shaped by the pupils' own interests, experiences, vocabulary and language usage. The series of workshops and follow-ups reinforce the new approaches and enable teachers to discuss their problems and achievements.Jane has worked closely with teachers both as headmistress and as a leader of in-service teachers' courses. A turning point for Jane in thinking about the problem was when she stopped relying on university specialists, and began using teachers themselves as resource persons and facilitators in her workshops.