The Minister for Education, Nyesom Wike, has said Nigeria is set to increase the number of literates by 40 million in the next four years. He said this in Abuja on Friday.
He said the country will target 10 million people yearly.
According to him, the measure was necessary to address the low literacy rate in the country and its negative implications.
Wike described the elimination of illiteracy through universal education as a veritable remedy to most of the world’s difficult socio-economic problems.
These socio-economic problems, he noted, were responsible for resentment and criminality in most countries.
The minister said the beneficiaries of the literacy program would be those who had been marginalized in the education system by circumstances beyond their control. These include vulnerable groups such as young girls, women, nomads, migrants, street children and Quran students known as ‘almajiris’, he said.
Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children; ensuring that all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to, and complete, free and compulsory primary education of good quality; ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life-skills program are very important in achieving such goal.
With a population of 158 million, Nigeria has a literacy rate of nearly 70 percent.
As President Goodluck Jonathan rightly observed during the presentation of the final report of the Presidential Task Force on Education on May 18, 2011, “Education is core to whatever we want to do as a nation. Nigeria cannot make much progress towards the attainment of its Vision 20-2020, unless we strengthen our educational system.”
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Unesco, has designated Sep 8 to be observed every year as the International Literacy Day.