50 million Nigerians are illiterates – FG

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Executive Secretary, ‎National Commission for Mass Literacy (NMEC), Prof. Abba Haladu, has disclosed that Nigeria has about 50 million number of non-literate adults in the country.


Haladu said this on Tuesday in Abuja to mark the 50th International Literacy Day with the theme: “Reading the Past, Writing the Future.”

He noted Nigeria was experiencing increased numbers of non-literate adults, while other countries were making progress.

Prof. Haladu said: “Tremendous progress has been made in the fight against illiteracy in the last five decades, yet the world is still home to at least 758 million illiterate adults, and about two thirds of them are women.

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“In Nigeria in particular, the illiteracy situation is still troubling. With an estimated figure of over 50 million adult illiterates and 11.5 million out of school children, the problem of illiteracy remains one of Nigeria’s greatest obstacles to development.

“In fact, UNESCO 2016, contends that as other regions of the world are recording progress in the fight against illiteracy, Sub-Saharan Africa, in which Nigeria has the highest number of population, is unfortunately experiencing rising absolute numbers of non-literate adults.”

Haladu, urged government at all levels, non governmental organisations and the organised private sector, to ensure the necessary material support needed to eradicate illiteracy were adequately provided.

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In his address, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, reiterated Nigeria’s commitment towards addressing the challenges of adult literacy.

Represented by the Director, Basic and Secondary Education, Mrs. Ann Okonkwo, the minister said adult illiteracy would affect the status of women, fertility, children’s development, economic productivity and political processes.

“Efforts would be made to strengthen equity and access, equality, funding, teacher quality, effective curriculum implementation, human resource development and provision of infrastructure, to equip young people and adult learners with the right knowledge and skills for global citizenship”, he added.

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Meanwhile, a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof. Peter Okebukola, has predicted that many parents will by next year not be able to pay the tuition fees of their children studying in universities.

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