school: As the adult illiteracy rate reduces to 31%
How we reduced the illiteracy rate in Nigeria–FG
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
The Federal Government has said that it is still grappling with the consequences of the out-of-school syndrome which provokes high illiteracy rates among youth and adults Nigerians.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the problems of its programme implementation giant strides in mass literacy, and adult and non-formal education and constituted palpable setbacks.
Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Mass Literacy, the Adult and Non-Formal Education, Prof. Simon Labour Akpama, who disclosed this in Abuja in his address on the occasion of the 2022 International Literacy Day, said the ugly trend culminated in a quantum of quantifiable learning loses and unabated dropouts, particularly in the non-formal education sub-sector.
But he also said that through its rebranded policy, the illiteracy rate in the country has reduced from 38 percent to 31 percent.
He said since he assumed office the commission has been rejuvenated, repackaged and rebranded which culminated in the reduction of the illiteracy rate as well as the reduction of unemployment.
The Executive Secretary explained that apart from formal education, the commission also trains the beneficiaries on skills acquisition and upon graduation, they are given starter packs which serve as economic empowerment.
He said that the starter packs are meant to enable the graduands to establish their own businesses which willing turn enhance their income generation and reduction in unemployment.
According to him, “The Literacy Enroute Economic Empowerment Strategy (LEES) is a major poverty eradication strategy as it seeks to juxtapose acquisition of basic and post-literacy skills with vocational literacy skills acquisition for the attainment of economic self-reliance of the beneficiaries.
“LEES will provide graduands from both the basic and vocational skills acquisition programmes with relevant kits and starter packs to establish their own businesses. This will change the economic status and transform our graduands into employers of labour, agents of unemployment reduction and increase in their income generation.”
Prof. Akpama further said, “Our convocation here demonstrates our avowed commitment and reaffirmation to enhance quality literacy service delivery which is a precursor to the sustainable socio-economic development of any nation.”
He said the theme of the 2022 International Literacy Day, “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces: Exploring the opportunities, Possibilities and Creativity”, was apt and germane to the thrust of NMEC’s programs with her ardent and uncompromising focus on adequately meeting the dynamic learning needs of Nigerian youths and adults in their divergent socio-economic context.
“In our passionate drive to seamlessly deliver on our literacy eradication mandate, we encountered debilitating challenges among these was the sudden emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The frightening and devastating intrusion of the COVID-19 pandemic into the implementation of our diverse illiteracy reduction programmes was a major bulwark.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the problems of our programme implementation giant strides and constituted palpable setbacks. This ugly trend culminated in a quantum of quantifiable learning losses and unabated dropouts, particularly in our non-formal education sub-sector.
“We are still grappling with the consequences of the out-of-school syndrome which provokes high illiteracy rates among youth and adults Nigerians.”
He further said that conscious of the innovations introduced by the commission, “NMEC is rejuvenating, rebranding, repackaging and repositioning its various strategies such as the Rural Facilitators Scheme.”