A professor of education in the University of Ibadan, Rashid Aderinoye, has given reasons Nigeria is yet to achieve the goal of its mass literacy programme.
He made the observations in his review of the activities of the National Mass Education Commission (NMEC), National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), the three agencies of government intervention in the struggle for eradication illiteracy in the country.
According to a statement, the review formed the kernel of his inaugural lecture titled “Literacy and sustainable national development: A Tripod of Intervention.”
Aderinoye noted that the agencies have not succeeded in significantly eradicating illiteracy because of lack of cooperation and collaboration among basic education commissions and parastatals at all levels; poor founding of youth and adult literacy agencies; continued increase in illiterate population; insufficient number of literacy facilitators both in quantity and quality; and lack of link between research institutions and education policy makers.
Other reasons adduced by the don are lack of political will to have a dedicated literacy agenda; declining vibrancy of Nigeria national council for adult education; high priority on formal education at the expense of literacy; clear contradiction between policy focus and the real capacity of the tripod; and lack of provision of incentive for citizens participation.
Aderinoye said: “Literacy should be considered a burning issue which requires a stronger political will and greater commitment to achieve a significant reduction or outright eradication of illiteracy.
“For Nigeria to realize the full promise of literacy, it should be declared as right to every Nigerian since it improves social outcomes in many spheres of life.”
To buttress his point, the don cited Cuba under the late revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, as an example, saying Castro, in 1960, mounted a massive literacy campaign tagged free from illiteracy, a programme which in a year gave not less than 90 percent of the population basic literacy skills.