By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
Abuja-As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to observe the 2017 International Literacy Day(ILD), the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu has said that the security, stability and economic prosperity of Nigeria depends to a large extent on her ability to provide functional education to all citizens.
Speaking on Monday at the Ministerial Press Briefing to flag-off the 2017 International Literacy Day(ILD), Malam Adamu noted that every citizen of Nigeria needs to have a wide set of knowledge, skills and competences which includes literacy, numeracy and digital competency at all proficiency level, in order to learn, adapt and participate in social, economic, cultural and civic life.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Arc.Sonny Echeono noted that provision of inclusive quality education for all is one way of addressing unemployment and social vices in concrete terms.
According to him, “Literacy remains a big social and cultural problem, one that can also hinder the economic development of society because without literacy and the culture of literate citizenship, there would be no meaningful development especially in a situation in which a large number of the citizens can neither read nor write. Different official estimates puts youth and adult illiteracy levels in Nigeria at about 63 million”.
While noting that the importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is embedded in its ability to create greater access to information and communication among the underserved population, he added that ICT can also be deployed to improve the monitoring of literacy progress, facilitate skills assessment and make the management and governance of literacy and skills delivery systems more efficient.
He further urged all stakeholders to make a difference by complementing government’s efforts in the fight against illiteracy in homes, families and immediate communities, adding also that the year’s event is devoted to better understand the type of literacy required in digital world to build more inclusive, equitable and sustainable societies of which Nigeria must not be left out.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary, National Commission For Mass Literacy (NMEC), Professor Abba Haladu, stressed the need to harness the exponential benefits of the ICT in the effort to bring literacy to more individuals at a much faster pace than ever and probably at even much lower cost.
Prof. Haladu emphasized that education is potentially the greatest instrument Nigeria has at its disposal to empower its people and literacy is the bedrock of it all, as he urged States and Local governments to deploy the needed political will to provide the necessary material support for the eradication of illiteracy in their respective jurisdiction.
He called on stakeholders, international development partners, donors, NGOs and private sector to redouble their efforts in addressing the issue of illiteracy in Nigeria, expressing confidence that with the combined efforts of all stakeholders, illiteracy will be reduced to the barest minimum to enable Nigeria take the path of progress and sustainable development.
Also, the Director-General of the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ms. Irina Bokova called for collective action in order to create new opportunities to take forward Sustainable Development Goal 4. on Education and lifelong learning for all, adding that partnerships between governments, CSOs and private sector are essential today to promote literacy in a digital world.
This year’s celebration marks the 51st Anniversary of the International Literacy Day(ILD) and has the theme, “Literacy in Digital World”.