Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in a bid to enhance the education of children during the lockdown, Universal Learning Solutions, a UK not-for-profit organisation, has launched the Nigerians Educate Everywhere at a Distance project (NEED).
According to Gary Foxcroft, CEO of Universal Learning Solutions, “the NEED project has been developed quickly as part of our response to the COVID-19 crisis.”
Foxcroft stated further that the NEED project was developed to help support the call by the Universal Basic Education Commission, (UBEC) for states to develop programmes to ensure that young learners are learning at home whilst schools are closed.
“Universal Learning Solutions and UBEC deliver Africa’s largest and most effective English literacy programme in Nigeria – Jolly Phonics.
“This usually focuses on providing face to face training and support to Nigerian government school primary school teachers using this fun and effective English literacy method, which has been proven to dramatically raise Early Grade literacy levels in Nigeria and globally.
He explained that the organisation had to rapidly change its approach due to the COVID-19 situation and has created a range of amazing free distance learning solutions that can be accessed in a variety of ways.
Foxcroft added that as soon as school closure was announced, Universal Learning Solutions produced a 50 episode Jolly Phonics TV Lessons series to directly benefit Nigerian children.
“Nigerian Jolly Phonics trainers recorded a 42 part radio show for the North and South of the country and a free Jolly Phonics Apps and Africa-based Story Reading Apps have been made available on a dedicated website – www.jollphonics.ng – where all the audio, video and App content can be accessed.
“There are also a range of free worksheets and activities to keep children occupied in the home. For families with no electricity, Universal Learning Solutions will be sending SMS messages to as many parents as possible including a full Jolly Phonics lessons course, developed in bite-sized chunks for parents.”
He disclosed that State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) in Zamfara, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Abia, Anambra, Jigawa, Niger, Lagos, Benue, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Kebbi, Yobe, Ebonyi and Ekiti States are already embracing the project through airing the radio show or television lesson on a range of stations.
“We wish to implore all state government and wider development partners to work with us to promote this Jolly Phonics distance learning programme and enable children to access the right to literacy from home.
“All resources are available for free on the website – www.jollyphonics.ng – and we wish to thank UBEC, who are presiding over this project, for making this possible,” Foxcroft noted.