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Institute deplores low English language literacy, proficiency skills among students


textbooksThe Institute of Learning and Skill Development (ILSD), has lamented the deteriorating standard of reading, writing and comprehension in English language among Nigerian students, a development it says is affecting the quality of certificates obtainable from Nigerian colleges and universities.

Chief Responsibility Officer of the institute, Dr. Olubusola Eshiet, stated this at a two-day Synthetic Phonics Capacity Building Training, organised recently for 50 participants, mainly senior lecturers from faculties of languages and that of education at the Adeyemi College of Education (ACE) Ondo State. 

At the training, which was in conjunction with the Adeyemi College of Education (ACE), Ondo, it was identified that synthetic phonics remains one of the best ways of teaching language beginners.

Eshiet, who facilitated the workshop said, “I found out that the major obstacle to acquiring literacy skills is the inability to read properly in the language of instruction (English). The traditional rote learning ‘cram and chant’ method of teaching beginners how to read has contributed much to this deficiency.

Speaking on the synthetic phonics, she said, “The method works by rapidly teaching the pupils, starting with the smallest units of speech, teaching them the sounds and building up bigger units by blending the sounds together. It is very much like the way we learnt to read our mother tongue. It is fun. The teachers love it, the pupils too love it; the teachers are playing with the pupils and the pupils are learning,” she said, affirming that it helps learners to read and write within a short period of time.

Eshiet, the author of a handbook titled: “Teaching Reading and Writing to Beginners,” a synthetic phonics for second language teachers, disclosed that ISLD international partner, Jolly Learning UK, has provided N150, 000 worth of books to facilitate literacy in pupils in primary one and two.

She informed that ISLD has partnered with Ondo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to train 1,400 primary school languages and health teachers, 80 officials of SUBEB and local government secretaries on how to systematically use sounds to facilitate and monitor literacy among pupils.

Provost of ACE, Prof. Olukoya Ogen, while declaring the training open said the capacity building programme was “…all about bringing our culture into developing a reading culture for our children and making English language learning easier for them since it is a second language, borne out of circumstance in Africa…”

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