By Rosemary Ogbonnaya
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu has said the comprehensive approach to resolving the current Nigeria’s challenges is through confronting adult illiteracy and paying attention to out of school children.
Disclosing this at the2021 International Literacy Day, ILD, held in Abuja on Tuesday, Adamu said Nigerian government is determined to confront adult literacy programme with the same zeal it is handling out of school children.
He said developing, sustaining and enhancing literacy skills is a lifelong and community-wide endeavour, requiring a strong commitment from the society as a whole.
The Minister said 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 youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.
“As you are aware, it is estimated that over 6.9 million children are out of school.
This is in addition to the estimated 38% of non literate adult Population. Investing in Education of the parents will have ripple effect on the reduction of out of school Children.
“It is a fact that non-literate parents are more likely to breed out of school children, thereby compounding the phenomenon facing our nation today,” he said.
While flagging off the national activities to commemorate the 2021International Literacy Day, Adamu urged all stakeholders, including the journalists, to make a difference by complementing government’s efforts in the fight against illiteracy in our various schedules, homes, families and immediate communities.
Adamu commended Director General of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay and her staff for their continued support in coordinating wide-ranging technical and financial assistance of the UN system, donor countries and the private sector, in country-level implementation of initiatives and programmes aimed at reducing the scourge of illiteracy worldwide.
Also, speaking the UNESCO Representative, Mammadou Lamine Sow said the COVID-19 pandemic has been the worst disturbance to education and training systems in a century, with the longest school closures affecting more than 1.6 billion learners at its peak time.
He quoted the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) by November 2020, which said the average child had lost 54 percent of a year’s contact time, which could be interpreted as the loss of over a year’s learning if the time of forgetting what was previously acquired is counted.
He said “the COVID-19 crisis has confirmed the fragility of many youth and adult literacy programmes, systems and policies as represented by the abrupt suspension of numerous programmes. Consequently, we need to reflect on what action can be taken to achieve SDG 4, target 6 by “ensuring that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy” by 2030.”
Sow said the current shift to digital teaching and learning has further widened the inequalities to the detriment of the non-formal education sub-sector.
This shift, according to him, has also highlighted the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure, and the ability to engage with technology.