GUWAHATI: In an effort to boost English language proficiency among students, the Assam government is set to introduce a scientific learning approach known as phonics in all schools under the jurisdiction of the Secondary Education Board of Assam (SEBA) and Samagra Siksha Assam (SSA). The government has partnered with Jolly Learning Limited, a UK-based educational firm, to facilitate this initiative.
Following government approval, the phonics methodology will be rolled out initially in 400 primary schools in the Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup districts. To expedite the implementation, a two-day block-level teacher training program was launched in Kamrup (M) on August 7.
In a post on a popular micro-blogging site, Education Minister Ranoj Pegu wrote, “We are introducing Phonics, a scientific method of teaching English in schools. @Samagra_Assam and SEBA, in collaboration with @Jolllyphonics, England are conducting teacher training from today in Kamrup and Kamrup (M) (sic).”
The education department, in a statement released on Monday, indicated that various surveys, including the National Achievement Survey (NAS), have revealed that a majority of students, particularly at the early grades, struggle with English reading and writing skills. Traditional teaching methods used by teachers have often yielded less than satisfactory results. “Phonics, a comparatively new approach, teaches reading English with proper pronunciation,” the statement read.
In 2022, SEBA had piloted the phonics approach in six schools, in collaboration with the same Essex-based company.
Phonics, a scientific method for learning alphabetic languages, breaks down words into individual sounds and then blends these sounds to construct the entire word. This enables children to “decode” words by concentrating on their sounds, thus obviating the need to memorise an exhaustive list of words individually.