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65 Million Nigerians Still Illiterate, Says UNESCO

The result of a survey tracking illiteracy has revealed that about 65 million Nigerians are still illiterate, National Programme Advisor on
Education, UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja, Dr. Mohammed Alkali, disclosed.

Dr. Alkali, who made this known during an advocacy visit to Governor Aminu Bello Masari, said people can be lifted out of poverty if they are empowered with basic reading skills. According to him, “just nine months of literacy increases a person’s
earning by up to 10 per cent.”

He also revealed that UNESCO in collaboration with National Mass Education Commission (NMEC) embarked on a project to revitalize adult and youth literacy in Nigeria with the target of reducing Nigerian illiteracy rate by between five to six million youths and adults.

He, however, pointed out that the Non-Formal Education sector has suffered very low funding and political will in Nigeria, urging states to fulfill their mandates by recruiting and paying UNESCO trained facilitators.

He also revealed that UNESCO in collaboration with National Mass Education Commission (NMEC) embarked on a project to revitalize adult and youth literacy in Nigeria with the target of reducing Nigerian illiteracy rates by between five to six million youths and adults.

Dr. Alkali further stated that the project was developed with “strategic partnership initiatives sharing responsibilities between UNESCO, Federal Government, states and local government areas to achieve the
target results.”

The Advisor, however, lamented that mass literacy facilitators in Katsina State were the least paid in the country with remuneration below the national benchmark of N7,500 per month for part-time facilitators.

Responding, Governor Aminu Bello Masari ordered an audit of the mass literacy facilitators and pledged that none of the actual facilitators in Katsina would henceforth be paid less than the national benchmark.

The governor, who extolled the ability of adult education to increase a person’s quality of life and skills acquisition, promised to ensure that Local governments improve their funding of non-formal education and fulfill their roles for the success of the project.

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