Cross River govt receives best literacy champions’ award

Jolly Phonics Training Partners to Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has presented Cross River Government with “Literacy Champion Award’’ 2019.

Speaking during the award ceremony on Wednesday in Calabar, Project Director of ULS, Ms Louise Gittins, said the award was in recognition of the state government’s commitment to the jolly phonics project.

According to her, through the support of the government, the pupils in public primary schools now learn how to read and write with confidence.

She also disclosed that Cross River emerged as the best performing Jolly Phonics State in Nigeria in the 2019 phonics screening exercise recently organised by Universal Learning Solutions (ULS).

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She noted that, out of 56,000 primary one to primary three pupils assessed across the country, the state pupils emerged the best in literacy assessment.

“We did a jolly phonics screening exercise across all states in the country; schools were chosen randomly and we did not choose the best schools.

“We assessed 56,000 pupils in primary one to three across the country. We wanted to look at the results of pupils in primary three just to see if they were able to read.

“We did a sound test and a word test; the test we used was from the UK government; it was a test that has been developed by experts to really see if children have received key basic phonics skills such as: knowing the sounds and being able to blend and so on.

“When we broke the results down to states, I was so excited to see Cross River at the top, a vast majority of primary three pupils in Cross River are now reading words, ‘’ Gittins said.

She added that Cross River also emerged overall best in primary two categories.

Speaking on the assessment applications, Gittins stated that the new technological system would be used in monitoring schools; assessing pupils; observing teachers and providing feedback for teachers mentoring and guidance.

She maintained that the innovation will enable decision-makers and stakeholders to pinpoint specific areas for support.

Gittins urged State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEB) across the country to partner with ULS to enhance literacy in public schools through the Jolly monitor app.

She expressed gratitude to the board and the state government for their support toward the success of Jolly Phonics project.

She commended the Executive Chairman of SUBEB, Dr Stephen Odey, for building upon the existing projects as well as enhancing it to make it even better.

She said that under the 2016 Teachers professional development funds, Cross River gave the highest contribution toward jolly phonics.

“That highlights how much support you have given to the project and indeed the passion you have for pupils’ development.

“I want to say thank you to you and the Governor for enhancing us improve the literacy standard in the State, ‘’ Gittins said.

Responding, Odey expressed his excitement over the strides the state had attained in the Jolly phonics project and commended ULS for enhancing the literacy level of the state through new innovations and initiatives.

He assured of the board and state government’s commitment to continue to partner ULS to ensure that Cross River remained a leading State.

Universal Learning Solution (ULS) is an International UBEC approved Training Provider that specialises in Jolly Phonics. Jolly phonics is a major international top-selling English literacy tool.

Jolly Phonics in Nigeria started in 2011 with a pilot study in Cross River.

Through the project, the ULS has been able to train 80,459 teachers across Nigeria, with Cross River leading the way with 6,620 trained teachers.

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