Oyo govt, NGO roll out new media to improve children's English Language skills

Pilot study results from three Nigerian states show significant increases in these English skills

Oyo govt, NGO roll out new media to improve children's English Language skills
Demonstrating the usage of Jolly Player

By Solomon Onyilo

The Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Universal Learning Solutions (ULS) a not-for-profit organisation, have formed a partnership to improve the literacy skills of school children through a novel media called the Jolly Player.

The media player is designed to contribute to the overall literacy development of school children under the Better Education Service Delivery For All (BESDA) initiative of the state government.

The Jolly Player roll out is a bid to ensure that school children in Oyo State experience a high English vocabulary development, a noticeable difference in fluency in speaking English, and an increase in understanding and listening comprehension.  

ULS Executive Director, Mrs Naomi Foxcroft, revealed that Pilot study results from three Nigerian states show significant increases in these English skills and, therefore, the impact is expected to be high in Oyo State. Already, Universal Learning Solutions (ULS) has begun the training of 315 teachers across Oyo State on how to effectively use the Jolly Player in their classrooms for great results on the literacy skills of their pupils.

The Jolly Player is a multi-band radio and recorder designed and engineered for the humanitarian sector. The innovative tool, according to Mrs. Foxcroft, combines these technologies in ways never before possible to deliver on-demand content anytime, anywhere. It is powered by a detachable solar panel and has a winding mechanism as back-up source. It also comes with an optional 12v wall charger for recharging when electricity is available. With its outstanding speaker quality, 60 listeners can hear it clearly.

The content on the Jolly Player is linked closely to the synthetic phonics approach, using a commercially available programme known as Jolly Phonics. In addition to incorporating Jolly Phonics content, the Jolly Players also contain a range of story recordings taken from different sources, and recordings of local English Textbooks and relevant comprehension passages.
Mrs. Foxcroft said: “The Oyo State Jolly Player project is a fantastic opportunity for all children in Oyo State to benefit from the opportunity to develop their comprehension, vocabulary and fluency skills to complement the already established ability to read and write. The project will, therefore, help increase equity and equal opportunities for all children in Oyo State.” 

Mr Patrick Uzu, Nigeria Country Director at Universal Learning Solutions Initiative, highlighted the exceptional support and partnership offered by Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (OYSUBEB) as being instrumental in the success of the project.  He said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Oyo SUBEB to supply, train, resource and mentor its teachers in the usage of the Jolly Player. This project gives the children of Oyo State a brighter future. Our sincere thanks and appreciation go to the Executive Chairman, Oyo SUBEB, Dr Nureni Aderemi Adeniran and his team who have handled the innovative project of the widely accepted Jolly Phonics project very professionally’

  Mrs Foxcroft also praised the Better Education Service Delivery For All (BESDA) Initiative and Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for its continued support for the adoption of Jolly Phonics and its related innovations in government schools across Nigeria; “UBEC has really recognised the tremendous impact that Jolly Phonics has been having on literacy levels in Nigeria’s government schools and have taken it on as one of their flagship programmes. This has helped us to initiate new projects across the country. Jolly Phonics is now being taught in all 36 states, and FCT. This is truly amazing and will help to improve the reading and writing abilities of millions of children in the years ahead.”