Nine out of 10 African children can’t read, learn numbers at age 10 — Ex-Education minister, Ezekwesili

A former Minister of Education and co- convener of #BringBackOurGirls, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili has revealed that nine out of every 10 African children are not able to read and learn numbers at the age of 10 according to a  recent study.

She lamented that such statistics and reality portends grave danger for developing countries like Nigeria and indeed the African continent.

Ezekwesili spoke on Saturday in Abuja during the graduation ceremony of the class of 2021 of the Pace Setters Academy, noting that for Nigeria to move forward from its present economic state, education and human capital must be the new crude oil.

She averred that Nigeria is still where it is because of misplaced priorities, stressing that God would not be happy with the country’s middle and upper class in the country.

Emphasising the love of oil and the gains from it by the elite and political class of the society, the one time Vice president of the World Bank said crude oil has a severance date and as such, there must be a change in focus.

“If children are not able to read to get certain numerical concept before the age of 10, they are going to be completely unable to accomplish much in life. I’m citing evidence and not mere say.

“The unfortunate thing for our continent is that only one out of 10 children who attains the age of 10 can achieve this sound standard of literacy and numeracy. This means that nine out of every 10 African children are not able to read and learn numbers at the age of 10. That’s an economic disaster.

“Nations where citizens are not at the economic centre have ended up at the bottom. So if the continent has to make it, education and human capital has to be epicenter of our economic strategy. Education has to be the new oil,” she said.

In his speech, the proprietor of the school, Mr. Kenneth Imansuagbon said education opens the human mind and liberates individuals from chains of poverty and societal ills. 

He enjoined the graduating students to be of good character and set the pace wherever they find themselves, adding that hard work to duty, the fear of God and dedication will set them apart from others.


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