News The African Way

How Introduction Of Phonemes Speeds Up Learning In Nigerian Rural School

By Iliya Kure

imageKaduna (Nigeria) — Firdausi Mohammed is a year 2 secondary student who witnessed a turn around in reading and pronunciation of English words within two weeks. This dramatic turn around did not happen to her alone, but to about 150 other pupils in her school, courtesy the introduction of English phonemes.

This turn around happened in Green Light Academy, a Nursery and Primary school, located in Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna northern Nigeria.

Miss Mohammed, the focal student proudly came out to read and pronounce words to visiting journalists, explaining how people generally pronounce words wrongly.

She said, “introduction of the English phonemes has helped me develop confidence in knowing the place of words and how to pronounce them.”

[Play the audio for her voice reading]

A Nigerian youth, Christogonus Nnoromelem, undergoing a mandatory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme is behind the improvement.

“I developed the sound because of the communication problems we have in this locality, microcosm called Kasuwan Magani. It has been difficult for us here to communicate effectively with the students. So I conceived it as a solution to the communication problem in the area and so far the students have been responding in their communication,” said the Youth Corps member.

Nnoromelem designed a chart which contains the 44 phonemes in English Language, showing signs that indicate their distinct sounds.

This he uses to address the gap he found, “It’s not just the nursery, primary and the secondary students that are guilty of this, but even the graduates pronounce words badly.

He pegged the rate of pupils progress at 70% saying they were learning fast. “I desire that by the end of this term, we would have produced students who will be able to communicate effectively without any problem,” he said.

On his dream, Nnoromelem said, “We intend to extend it from Kaduna to Nigeria as a whole. We have been drilling students on the sounds, on how to pronounce words well. As a Corp member and as part of our Community Development program, CDS, we still go to other community, school and extend this to them. Last week, we were at Tudun Mare Secondary school. So this is a stepping stone as we intend to extend it to other places.

“What we intend to achieve at the end of the day is to groom a considerable number of the students at least 70 – 80% to communicate effectively,” he said.

[listen to audio below]

Proprietor of the school, Mr. Vincent C. Okoro called on the government to include the phonemes in the school curriculum, as that would help the pupils students to have a sound concrete educational foundation.

PTA Chairman, Dimka Bahago who was delighted with the development said he saw a bright future ahead of the children as he saw future leaders and governors among the children.

Meanwhile, Chairman Governing Board of the school, Mohammad Sa’adu called on the government to assist the public and private schools with educational amenities to ensure the students are properly groomed.

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