The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education(NCCE), Prof Paulinus Chijioke Okwelle said Jolly Phonics has reinstalled the hope education stakeholders and school managers in Nigeria.
He said this at the 15th Year Anniversary of Introducing Jolly Phonics into Nigerian Basic Education Schools tagged “Time for Jolly” organised by Universal Learning Solutions Initiative(ULS) in Abuja.
The executive secretary who was represented by the Director of Early Grade Reading Badmus Razak said at a point when the consistent dwindling standard of literacy was almost becoming a nightmare partly because the conventional methods and approaches are not interactive and learner-friendly in nature, the positive change of narrative by Jolly Phonics through its remarkable successes, came to reinstall the hope of many education stakeholders.
According to the executive secretary, “Today, with this onerous intervention in literacy, many of our school managers at the primary level are beginning to rejoice and boast of young learners who, on graduation, can read and write effectively, thus empowering and setting them on the path that will allow these future leaders of tomorrow to be able to contribute meaningfully in resolving challenges which directly affect them.”
He praised ULS and other international partners as he drew attention to their efforts to impart NCCE on literacy matters and before now, developing literacy and learning skills in young children is a major area in Teacher Education that has not attracted much attention if not total neglect.
“For a very long time, the record has not shown much of deliberate efforts made towards developing appropriate methods and learning materials for developing communication skills in English studies in government primary schools.
“Through the initiative of ULS and a few other international partners on literacy, not only that some staff of the NCCE and some others from our Colleges of Education have been trained, it is this collaboration that culminated into the inclusion of Early Grade Reading concept (EGR) for the first time in the latest edition of the NCE minimum standards in programmes such as Early Childhood Care Education, Adult Education, English language studies and in General Studies Education.”
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr Hamid Bobboyi also said the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in the year 2012 entered into a partnership with Universal Learning Solutions (ULS) the organizers of the Jolly Phonics Programme at a time when the level of literacy was very low In the Basic Education Sector.
Bobboyi who was represented by the Director of Teachers Development, Mrs Patience Obasi said at the initial stage of engagement, the training was optional as only states interested in literacy held the training using the UBEC Teacher Professional Development (TPD) fund.
In the year 2015, based on the reports from the UBEC field officers in the states, where the training was conducted, the UBEC Management included Jolly Phonics as mandatory training in the TPD.
So far the federal government using the TPD funds has trained P1-P3 teachers in Basic Education Sub-sector.
Obasi said the federal government has found the Jolly Phonics programme relevant to its objective of improving literacy development of basic education learners has over the years supported its inclusion in the basic education curriculum in basic schools across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
“Whilst also ensuring that our teachers are trained and re-trained on the Jolly Phonics pedagogy to be able to effectively teach learners to read and write”.
Meanwhile, the Country Director of ULS, Patrick Uzu while speaking to journalists in an interview identified the teacher’s transfer as a major challenge to the successful implementation of Jolly Phonics in Nigeria.
Uzu said after a teacher has been invested heavily upon by the government and development partners, he or she may be transferred to a school that is yet to practice Jolly Phonics and thereby puts an end to every experience and knowledge of it in that regard.
Uzu, however, said the government’s partnership in the implementation of Jolly Phonics over the years has been top-notch and encouraged further cooperation to strengthen future engagements.
Jolly Phonics reinstalls hope of education stakeholders in Nigeria