Jan 25, 2013, 10:10 AM
At least 174 classroom teachers in the Central River Region recently took part in a four-day training on jolly phonics, organised by the Gambia Association of Teachers of English (GATE), with support from the Ministry of Education.
In his welcoming remarks at the occasion held in Jangjangbureh CRR South, the Regional Education Director for Region 5, Mr. Babucarr Suwareh said training teachers on such areas is very paramount, as they are always in contact with students. He stated that the training would help improve the reading culture of students in school.
According to him, helping teachers acquire skills means helping students indirectly as whatever is learnt during the training, will be transferred to the students in classrooms. Suwareh stated that the educational policy of the country always put emphasis on access to relevant quality education.
Mr. Suwareh commended President Jammeh for making education accessible, while urging participants to take up the training seriously.
For his part, Omar Ndure, the Coordinator of GATE said the training is specifically meant for grade one and early childhood development teachers (nursery).
According to him, the reason for targeting nursery and grade one teachers, "is to build a solid foundation with 42 letters sound." This, he noted, will improve students reading and speaking skills.
"The reading culture is very low and this is one of the only ways we can contribute to improve their (students) reading and speaking skills."
"We can contribute to improve the situation by training teachers and give them the support to replicate this to their students at the classrooms," he added.
Mr. Ndure stated that GATE is working very closely with the Ministry of Education, to provide training for teachers, adding that the training is specifically for the lower basic school level.
This, he said, is the reason why GATE is intervening in this area by targeting grade one teachers, because that is the foundation. "We are using the jolly phonic approach because it has been identified that not only in schools, but the reading culture is very low in this country," he added. To him, this is a right intervention and there is an interrelation between the ability to read and write.
Mrs. Kumba Manneh-Sanneh, a trainer said the ultimate aim of the training is to equip teachers with the required skills to be able to help build better foundation for the lower grades.
According to her, GATE will link with head masters/teachers to make sure teachers who were trained on jolly phonic are retained in grade one as it is the grassroots.
She commended the Ministry of Education through its Fast Track Initiative and Catholic Fund for their support in making the training a reality.