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Aderinola Bunmi
Science Laboratory Technology
Aspirant, Nigeria.

A former Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Prof Olasupo Jegede, has urged the Federal Government to be more aggressive in its literacy drive to eradicate poverty and boost employment, among others.

He said the drive will address the over 10 million children that are out of school.

The Federal Ministry of Education had in October 2019 said that it had conducted a National Personnel Audit of both public and private schools in Nigeria, which showed that the country has 10,193,918 out-of-school children.

However, quoting the National Bureau of Statistics, Jegede said the overall literacy percentage in the English Language is 57.9, while that of other languages is 71.6.

He stated while delivering a lecture titled, Values and strategies of the adult literacy campaign, at a seminar organised by the Rotary Club Onigbongbo in Lagos State.

He said though past administrations paid attention to literacy, more still needed to be done.

“Overall literacy percentage in the English Language is 57.9, while that of other languages is 71.6. Apart from this, 10.2million Nigerian children are out of school. Problems of mass literacy campaigns in Nigeria include lack of commitment, lack of adequate planning, corruption, and the square peg in a round hole.

“Literacy can be a major tool for eradicating poverty, boosting employment, gender equality, family health, protecting the environment, and promoting democratic participation, among others. It also aids memory, assist documentation, helps verification, stimulates thinking, aids invention, helps in transmitting ideas, values, assists communication at a distance, eradicates ignorance and allows privacy/confidentiality,” he stated.

Jegede said a successful literacy campaign requires government political will.

“The first step towards a successful literacy campaign is the presence of a political will. The leaders or organisers must be committed to the true emancipation of the people. For example, the primary aim of literacy is not simply to provide people with the skills to cope with the written word of everyday life, but to enable them to gain greater freedom to make choices, to have a better grasp of real life, to enhance personal dignity and to have other sources of knowledge, then, we need more than rhetoric from our leaders to record success,” Jegede added.

President of the Rotary Club Onigbongbo, Mr James Ajayi, said the club places emphasis on education, adding that the seminar was part of its Literacy Week.

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