54 million Nigerians are illiterates – FG

Mfonobong Akpan

The Federal Government revealed yesterday that of  Nigeria’s 180 million people, the number of illiterate Nigerians is estimated at 54 million.

The Acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Hindatu Abdullahi, presented the figures at the flag-off of the 2015 International Literacy Day celebration, and called for concerted efforts to improve the negative trend.

Recently, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) announced that over 757 million adults worldwide still lacked basic literacy skills, with about two-third of them being women, mostly from Nigeria and other third-world countries.

Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, in her message to mark the 2015 International Literacy Day, lamented that the number of out-of-school children and adolescents was on the rise, standing at 124 million worldwide.

Nigeria, in 2000, joined other countries to commit to the six Education For All (EFA) goals and later the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which had 2015 as deadline for achieving their set targets.

“Regrettably, a global review of achievements and challenges of EFA since inception shows that some of the targets remain unattained, especially in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria,” said Abdullahi.

According to her, the 2013/2014 Global Monitoring Report (GMR) showed that countries like Brazil, China, Indonesia have attained 90 per cent literacy rate, while Egypt and India had about 70 to 89 per cent. Nigeria, Bangladesh and Pakistan had literacy rate of less than 70 per cent.

She noted that past governments generally gave more attention and resources to formal education programmes than the non-formal sub-sector, which accounted for a larger number of illiterate adults and out-of-school youths.

Reacting to this, Ms Bokova called for more investment and effective policies to embed action for literacy within wider development policies. She also urged Nigeria authorities to prioritise education, as this would bring about sustainable development across the country.


Happenings Media