100,000 teachers trained on jolly phonics ― UBEC

• Says FG committed to provision of functional education in Nigeria

The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has disclosed that more than 100,000 primary school teachers have been trained on the jolly phonics teaching method as part of efforts to provide functional education in the country.

Jolly Phonics is a fun and child-centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics, with actions for each of the 42 letter sounds.

Director, Teacher Professional Development, UBEC, Mr Imail Yahya, spoke on Monday in Abuja at a brief ceremony to mark the successful training of the 100,000 teachers and to demonstrate the impact of jolly phonics on child’s ability to read and write at the basic level of education in Nigeria.

He disclosed that the training programme was done in collaboration with the Universal Learning Solutions, a not-for-profit organization that works to provide innovative literacy solutions, saying this was to address the challenge of graduating pupils from primary schools who cannot read and write.

Yahya said more than 5 million children have been reached since the adoption of the jolly phonics in schools across the country.

He said: “Part of our desire is that functional education is given to our children. Education is only functional when the children can read and write.

“In the last 7 years Jolly Phonics has been in Nigeria, they have assisted in training teachers and what we are doing here today is to celebrate the 100,000 teachers trained. We are happy because of the impact this has on the future of the children in the area of literacy.

“The significance is not in the number of teachers trained but the number of children that have been reached across Nigeria, more than 5million children have been reached across Nigeria through the 100,000 teachers trained.”

UBEC Director of Academic Services, Mr Madawaki Wadatau, said the government was worried that school leavers in time past could not read and write because of the old method of teaching the alphabets.

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He said: Before the introduction of the jolly phonics programme, we had problems with children, especially primary one and two, in their ability to read and write. We were used to the former habit of reading the alphabet.”

Wadatau, explained the training of teachers was funded from the 10 per cent set aside for teacher professional development out of the 2 per cent Consolidated Revenue Fund allocated to UBEC for intervention in basic education in Nigeria.

He pledged that the Commission would sustain the training programme, adding that this was a literacy revolution in Nigeria that must be supported at all levels of governments in the country.

Chief Executive Officer of Universal Learning Solution, Mr Gary Foxcroft, said he was glad the Jollyphonics programme he started in a school in Akwa Ibom State in 2006 has spread to the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory.

He noted that illiteracy remains a challenge in Nigeria and that his organisation saw the need to partner with UBEC and the States Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBS), to provide a solution to the problem.

Foxcroft noted that jolly phonics has improved the learning abilities of pupils and as well increased enrollment in schools through the new method of teaching children.

One of the Jolly Phonics teachers at Festival Road Primary School, Garki Abuja, Mrs Freda Bako, said Jolly-phonics has helped to develop the skills of teachers and as well enhance literacy skills of pupils.

Mrs Bako added that the programme which commenced in late 2018 in the school is presently increasing enrolment and retaining pupils in school.

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