Stepping Stones Nigeria today issued a communique commending the Federal Ministry of Education’s commitment to transform literacy levels in Nigeria through the use of the fast-track reading and writing method – Jolly Phonics.
The method, which is already being used by government primary school teachers in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, together with most private schools across the country, has been widely hailed by teachers, pupils and parents as a panacea for Nigeria’s ongoing challenge with illiteracy.
A two day workshop on the Jolly Phonics method was held last week in Abuja to show the evidence that the use of the method by primary teachers can lead to dramatic increases in the reading and writing abilities of children. Stepping Stones Nigeria was invited to present at the workshop on its efforts to transform literacy teaching in Nigeria using Jolly Phonics. The event, which was hosted by the Universal Basic Education Commission on behalf of the Honourable Minister of State for Education Mr Nyesom Wike, was well attended by Commissioners for Education, State Universal Basic Education Board Chairmen, Directors of Education and other distinguished guests.
The Founder and Director of Jolly Learning, Mr Christopher Jolly, also used the event as an opportunity to outline the details of his philanthropic offer of free Jolly Phonics materials, which includes free work books for all primary one and two children and free training for teachers and head teachers in government schools.
Jolly Phonics was first brought to the public school sector in Nigeria in 2005 by the founders of Stepping Stones Nigeria, Gary and Naomi Foxcroft, and a team of academics from the Institute of Education at the University of Uyo. Since then, word of the effectiveness of the method has spread and over 7,000 teachers have received free training on the method with the support of Jolly Learning Ltd. Stepping Stones Nigeria has played a central role in almost all of these efforts and the recent workshop was called following a synthetic phonics learning event in the UK which was organised by Stepping Stones Nigeria and attended by the former Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission.
Speaking after the recent workshop in Abuja, Stepping Stones Nigeria’s Education Programme Manager, Louise Gittins, said: “Like most people who see Jolly Phonics in action, we believe that it has the potential to revolutionise the teaching of reading and writing in Nigeria. Ultimately, until children are able to read and write they will have little chance of accessing their wider rights. We therefore look forward to working closely with all stakeholders in Nigeria to train many more government primary school teachers in this method”.