The federal government has expressed concern that adult illiterates in Nigeria still constitute about 40 per cent of the country’s population despite efforts by successive administrations to address the challenge.
Investigation by Tribune Education, however, revealed that the federal government will use the 500,000 teachers to be recruited as part-time adult education instructors in addition to their primary assignment as teachers at the basic level of education.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while speaking in Abuja on the plans of the current administration to drastically reduce mass illiteracy in Nigeria, noted that adult literacy education has remained the most neglected component in the entire education sector.
He said: “Various official estimates put adult illiteracy level in Nigeria to be between 35 per cent and 40 per cent of the population.
“This is compounded by the more than 10 million school age Nigerian children who are currently said to be out of school and who, if care is not taken, would soon swell the country’s adult illiteracy population.
“To make matters worse, a significant number of children currently enrolled in school may not acquire the necessary basic literacy and numeracy skills and may therefore graduate into adulthood as illiterates.”
The minister disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Education would mobilise all stakeholders as well as necessary resources towards substantially reducing the current high state of adult illiteracy level in Nigeria within the next five years.
The thinking of the federal government, Tribune Education, gathered is that if it deploys the 500,000 to be recruited and use them as part-time instructors, the cost of the proposed nationwide campaigns against illiteracy would be very minimal.
Adamu had noted that even though adult and non-formal education is constitutionally the role of the local governments and states, the federal authorities must take the lead by intervening in this component of basic education.
He said: “With leadership coming from the federal government and pursuing a nationwide campaign with an intensive targeted-approach, it is possible to substantially reduce the army of illiteracy in the country with the next three to four years.
He said this would be achieved, “especially if a minimum of 10 literacy centres are established in each of the 9572 wards with each ward enrolling a maximum of 30 learners in two sessions per annum.”