Following the enormous improvement noticed in academic performances of early grade pupils in public schools since the introduction of Jolly Phonics, the Ebonyi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) says the teaching would be included in the school timetable by next term.
Chairman of SUBEB, Chief Hyacinth Ikpor disclosed this in Abakaliki during an award ceremony organised by the officials of Universal Learning Solutions Initiative (ULSI), for 26 teachers selected across the 13 council areas of the state whom he said had performed creditably in the subject.
Giving a brief history of the teaching, Chief Ikpor pointed out that Jolly Phonics was a name given to a special teaching method introduced by a Non-Governmental Organisation, ULSI, principally to fast-track formal education of pupils in primary 1 and 2 to make it easy for them to read and write at their early stage.
“Jolly Phonics has been noted through ULSI, thus the subject had spread across the country where some pilot schools were firstly selected before Ebonyi State actively joined in 2018.
He also disclosed that no fewer than 480 primary 2 teachers had already been trained while issuing a directive to all education secretaries to ensure that none of the trained teachers was transferred to another school or class so that the objective behind the teaching would not be defeated.
“Twenty-six teachers selected across the 13 local government areas who had distinguished themselves in the teaching of Jolly Phonics were appreciated and given awards to boost their morale,” he said.
Senior Project Manager of the programme, Ebonyi State, Innocent Nwosu; an engineer, described the teaching as a multi-sensory strategy meant for early grade children to enable them to learn how to read and write irrespective of their tender ages.
He said: “Jolly Phonics as a subject is a retentive method of developing children’s capacity so that they could read and write objectively even beyond their reading and writing age.
“With this teaching, a child of about five years can read as if he or she is up to 10 years, thus, it is all about building an early foundation for children unlike what could be found in the time past where some children who finished primary six could neither read nor write”.
Nwosu disclosed that the teaching is unique among other literacy intervention programmes owing to the fact that it works with the five human senses and characterised with funny actions alongside some songs associated with it.
A researcher with Jolly Phonics Ebonyi State, Dr Monica Okafor said that it was after the group had concluded its training and monitored the teachers that its officials deemed it necessary to recognise the teachers over their impressive efforts.
The visitor, Miss Kate Howell, expressed excitement over the improvement found among the children and thanked her officials and the organisers of the event for the feat.