The NULP was developed by Mango Tree Educational Enterprises Uganda, in collaboration with teachers, government officials, and the local Language Board. Because of the complex challenges in many African classrooms, the model involves a carefully-designed bundle of inputs focused on providing quality local-language classroom materials, training and supporting teachers in literacy instruction, and building the capacity of local government officials to train, supervise and support teachers.
The Full-Cost Program: The model focuses on mother tongue literacy and training and supporting teachers in literacy instruction. The first training module involves a five-day residential workshop on the Leblango orthography. In P1-P3, teachers undergo three intensive residential trainings in a school year on literacy methods (both whole language and phonics approaches) and participate in six Saturday in-service training workshops. Mango Tree staff visit classrooms to observe and provide feedback to teachers once per month. Government tutors make similar visits twice per term (six visits per year). The Mango Tree model introduces content slowly, providing time for repetition and practice; it takes two years to introduce the Leblango letter sounds, in contrast to other models which introduce all the phonemes in one year. Every teacher is provided with teachers’ guides that provide a script for each literacy lesson. In P4, the program did not deliver the same type of intervention, rather, Mango Tree supported teachers through a mentorship program.
The Reduced-Cost Program: Mango Tree’s goal was to create the highest-quality, most-effective literacy program possible. However, the materials, one-on-one support, and residential trainings are costly. Not including the initial costs of curriculum and materials development and community engagement activities, the program costs $19.88 per student. Mango Tree therefore created a modified, more easily scalable, reduced-cost version of the NULP.
There are two main differences between the full- and reduced-cost versions. The first is the use of a cascade model of training and support, rather than working directly with teachers. This approach involves Mango Tree staff directly training government tutors, who conduct teacher trainings and support visits themselves. The second difference between the full- and reduced-cost versions is that schools in the reduced-cost version received fewer support visits: two visits per term (from tutors only) instead of five (two from tutors and three from Mango Tree staff). In both program versions, tutors were given financial resources to make school visits and hold training sessions.