Jolly Phonics Rollout in Tamil Nadu State!

  Dr. S.V. Gomathi and her dedicated team of trainers have been facilitating training for teachers in Tamil Nadu State in the Jolly Phonics programme, all in a bid to provide effective and engaging English language education to children. The training of teachers, along with the teaching and learning resources that have supported implementation of the programme has had significant benefits for both students and educators, in developing and improving student’s ability to read and write in English. Following several successful pilot studies and rollouts in 13 districts, there has been overwhelming and growing interest in the Jolly Phonics programme leading to Jolly Phonics being rolled out to all districts in all the districts of Tamil Nadu!   The comprehensive training included a team of 45 professional Jolly Phonics trainers, who collectively trained over 22,000 teachers from 25 districts. The training focused on providing relevant, hands-on learning experiences for educators, allowing them to incorporate the new methodologies and techniques almost immediately into their lessons. It was well attended, with 100% of expected teachers showing up, and actively participating in the lessons, despite some of the training being conducted on weekends. The participants expressed appreciation for the training, the vibrant and visually appealing materials such as Big Books and posters, which they felt would help students grasp and retain the English language skills being taught.  The training team equally delivered engaging and informative session, maintaining full energy and a positive attitude, which reflected their professionalism and passion for their work.   Since the training, Dr. S. V. Gomathi has conducted several field visits to establish the impact of the programme particularly in the interior villages and hill areas. It was found that children in these areas were able to blend words using letter sounds, which elated parents due to their children’s newfound ability to read in English. This highlights the real success of the programme and positive reception in the community.

In addition, a combined team of experts and government officials which included the IAS officer Mr. Elambahavath, conducted a vetting of the Jolly Phonics materials and found that they had value in enhancing the learning experience and also aligned with the State’s educational goals. This collaboration and positive evaluation has led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tamil Nadu State – a significant milestone, and a testament to the positive impact and reception of the programme there.

The MoU was signed on the 13th of February, 2023 with Mr. Christopher Jolly, the Managing Director of Jolly Learning Ltd representing Jolly Futures, and Mr. Elambahavath, the State Project Director for SSA representing the government. This formal agreement solidified the commitment and collaboration between Jolly Learning Ltd and the State Project Director for SSA in implementing the Jolly Phonics programme, under the umbrella of Jolly Futures. It also highlighted a shared vision and mutual understanding between both parties regarding the goals and objectives of the State and Jolly Futures in supporting literacy education in Tamil Nadu. The MoU also outlined the decision by the State to reprint the Jolly Phonics materials to ensure that these resources continue to benefit educators and students. Since the signing of the MoU, Tamil Nadu has had a new State Project Director, Dr. M Aarthi, IAS SSA, who has equally welcomed the Jolly Futures programme and expressed support for continuing the project as per the MoU signed by the former director. This endorsement will help to ensure the stability and success of the programme going forwards, and the fulfillment of mission to improve English language learning outcomes.

Special thanks go to the State Project Directors (both former and current), the education experts who evaluated the programme, and to Jolly Futures for its generous donation in covering the training costs which shows commitment to improving literacy outcomes in Tamil Nadu.  A heartfelt salute also goes out to all the trainers for valuable contributions and their significant impact on the participants which contributed to the overall success of the training.

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