Global literacy rate now 86 per cent, says UNESCO
• As FG vows to fight scourge off illiteracy to a standstill
The Federal Government has reassured of its readiness to fight the scourge of illiteracy in the country. The commitment came as Nigeria joined the rest of the world to commemorate the 2023 International Literacy Day.
Themed “Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies,” Education Minister, Prof. Tahir Mamman, said it is important to explore the patterns of transformation and adjustment that had characterised education globally as a result of its ever-increasing scope.
“Specifically, it awakens our consciousness to the need to continually make required adjustments in our approach to literacy delivery, to meet current global trends.
“The ministry would continue to leverage on the existing progress and transformation in the development of literacy, while setting the stage for lifelong learning of Nigerian adults and youths.
Mamman added that eliminating illiteracy from Nigeria is a top priority of the Bola Tinubu-led administration, adding that the ministry would work hard to achieve this.
“Illiteracy is a scourge and we will not allow it to continue. We have the directive of the president and our own personal resolve.
“In days and weeks ahead, we will be engaging the public, we have policies on ground but the problem has been the delivery of those policies,” Mamman said.
Director-General, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Audrey Azoulay, said the world had achieved significant strides in closing the illiteracy gap, and would continue to support literacy efforts by countries all over the world.
“In the space of 40 years, significant progress has been made; 3.6 billion people have learned to read and write, raising the global literacy rate from 68 per cent in 1979 to 86 per cent in 2020.
“However, the current situation is still rife with injustice and inequality. At the halfway point in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 244 million school-age children are still not in school, 98 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 773 million adults, two thirds of them being women, still cannot read or write.
“Over and above illiteracy, learning gaps still too often lead to incomplete literacy, six out of 10 children attending school at the age of 10 cannot read and understand a simple text,” the UNICEF chief lamented.
Azoulay, who was represented by the National Programme Officer and Literacy, Abuja, Dr Stephen Onyekwelu, said the agency is currently supporting the mass literacy, adult and non-formal education in reviewing the policy guidelines for non-formal education in the country.
Executive Secretary, National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education, Prof. Simon Akpama, said the organisation is liaising with the National Population Commission (NPC) and other stakeholders to ascertain the data of Nigerians that are not literate.
Represented by the Director, Planning Research and Statistics in the Commission, Mariam Khalid, the commission boss said.
It is also utilising available resources to play its role in reducing illiteracy among youths and adults to the barest minimum.
“It is, however, important that in eradicating the scourge of illiteracy, there must be improved funding, adequate resources and better attention to the non-formal education sector”, she said.
The Administrator who said that the school has stopped admitting students for the next session said the institution always admits their students from JSS1 without admitting students on transfer from other schools as a matter of policy to actually groom their students from the scratch.
He called on parents to cooperate with the school authority as partners in progress in the vital area of training their wards.
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