Over 62 Million Nigerians Are Illiterates — UNESCO

Leadership of labour and civil society speaks to thousands of people protesting against the scrapping of oil subsidy at Gani Fawehinmi Park in Lagos, on January 11, 2012. Thousands of protesters gathered at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in the third day of on-going mass strike by labour and civil society to protest the scrapping of oil subsidy by the government. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, has disclosed that over 62 million Nigerians are illiterates, describing the menace as dangerous to the development of the country. UNESCO also said going by the research it conducted, it will take 58 years to be able to banish illiteracy among Nigerians even with innovations like Information and Communications Technology and other learning mechanisms.

Speaking at an international workshop on Teaching and Learning organized by Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, on Monday, the National Progamme Officer, UNESCO Regional office in Abuja, Dr Muhammad Alkali, canvassed full embrace of ICT not only to increase quality of education, but also for more Nigerians to have access to education.

Alkali, who praised ABUAD for placing high premium on quality teaching and learning, said full introduction of ICT into Nigeria’s educational system as done in Pakistan, would help in strengthening democratic and transparent educational planning and management that would make every citizen to contribute to knowledge-based economy.

He said the mobile system of education helps to make learning very flexible , particularly in a situation where resources are scarce , thereby fettering citizens’ access to education. “UNESCO is targeting drop-outs which are predominant in JSS2 going by available research in Nigeria. We are seriously concerned and worried with increasing illiteracy in Africa. We are getting a place in the neighbourhood where they can be taught. “Unless we are deceiving ourselves, ICT remains the best way to provide education now going by the experiences in Pakistan. Nigeria needs 58 years to banish illiteracy and this is going to be hectic”, he said.

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