The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to confronting adult illiteracy with the same zeal in handling out-of-school children.
Adamu disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday, at a news conference in commemoration of the 2021 International Literacy Day (ILD).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in Nov. 1966, the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed Sept. 8, of every year as the ILD.
The day was set aside to draw global attention to the status of literacy and lifelong learning, as well as highlight the linkage between literacy and the development of individuals and nations.
The 2021 theme for the ILD is tagged “Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide”.
Adamu noted that confronting adult illiteracy and paying attention to out-of-school children were comprehensive approaches towards resolving the challenges faced by the country.
He said that there was also a need to maximise the opportunities provided by ICT resources including radio, television, mobile phones, computers and internet to bring literacy and numeracy closer to people.
He said that in terms of the digital divide for instance; globally, nearly half of the world population (51.2 per cent), including many non-literate adults, did not have access to Internet in 2018.
According to him, as our country desires to resolve its developmental challenges, every citizen needs to have a wide set of knowledge, skills and competences, including literacy, numeracy and digital competency at a proficiency level.
“Developing, sustaining and enhancing literacy skills is a lifelong and community-wide endeavour, requiring a strong commitment from the society as a whole.
“Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 calls on countries to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
“Specifically, SDG Target 4.6 requires that by 2030, member states should ensure that all youths and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.
“The aim is that by 2030, all young people and adults across the world should have achieved relevant and recognised proficiency levels in functional literacy and numeracy skills,” he said.
The minister added that these skills must be equivalent to levels achieved at successful completion of basic education.
Adamu, however, urged stakeholders to complement government’s efforts in the fight against illiteracy.
Also, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, advised the Federal Government to come up with diverse solutions for distance, face-to-face and hybrid learning for literacy.
Azoulay, who was represented by Mr Mammadou Sow, UNESCO Regional Education advisors, also called for equitable and inclusive access to technology-enabled literacy programmes to be integrated into learning of reading and writing skills and digital skills.
She added that there was also a need for the country to develop a national framework that would provide sound financial structure for literacy education.
She also called for the adoption of an appropriate type of technology to support the good teaching approach, learning content, assessment and certification.
“The current shift to digital teaching and learning has further widened the inequlaities to the detriment of the non-formal education sub-sector.
“This shift has also highlighted the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure, and the ability to engage with technology.
“According to the International Telecommunications Union, nearly half of the world’s people (3.7 billion) do not use the Internet, many of whom are in least developed countries, and urban-rural disparities and gender gaps continue to be present.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, only 7.7 percent were estimated to have a computer at home. Household internet access in the region is still limited with a rate of approximately 22 per cent,” she added.
She, however, called for actions to facilitate literacy teaching and lifelong learning among youths and adults. (NAN)