UK-based agencies donate N2.15b materials, skills for English study

_Gary-FoxcroftA UNITED Kingdom-based non-governmental organisation, the Universal Learning Solutions, and an educational publisher, Jolly Learning Limited, have committed about N2.15 billion into free materials and capacity building programmes on jolly learning education.

The groups, which operate in partnership with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), have also announced plans to expand the jolly phonics literacy project to all government primary schools in the country.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja, the Chief Executive Officer of Universal Learning Solutions, Gary Foxcroft, said that about 21,644 primary teachers and head teachers across 15 states have so far received free training in the jolly method, in addition to 953,198 free books and other learning resources.

Jolly phonics is a synthetic phonic method that enables children who learn English as a second language to read and write the language effectively.

According to Foxcroft, the method involves teaching the main 42 English-letter sounds in isolation while simultaneously teaching the young ones how to blend segments and sounds to read and write words. “It is used in the majority of schools in the United Kingdom and many other countries around the world where the method has been adopted as a government policy,” he stated.

He added that though the plan to impact every public school in Nigeria is capital intensive, it would be covered within the four-year plan even as the organisation generates funds and expanded it the less privileged.

For the publisher of Jolly Phonics, Chris Jolly, it was a great privilege to contribute to the Nigerian society, having spent much of his youthful years in Ibadan, Nigeria. “While most private schools in the country now use my products, I am delighted to be able to make a difference in public schools,” he said. “The aim of achieving universal adoption, bringing literacy to all children starting school is within sight. In this, Nigeria has become a model for others as it has been in many other ways.”

Meanwhile, the EBEC Executive Secretary, Dr. Dikko Suleiman, represented by the Director, Academic Services, Pius Osahgea, highlighted the import of English education in eradicating illiteracy among children of developing nations.

To him, Jolly Phonics method has become an acceptable model for fast-tracking teaching and learning in English language. He commended the donors for their contributions to bringing education to the reach of public school pupils.

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