An NGO, Flan Educare Foundation, has urged the three tiers of government, international agencies, religious bodies and well-meaning Nigerians to fund and support adult literacy education in the country.
Its General Coordinator, Mrs Flora Takim-Ndifon, made the plea on Tuesday at the 2019 Literacy Conference organised by the NGO in Lagos.
Theme of the conference was: “Promoting Literacy in a Digital World.”
Flan Educare Foundation was set up with the primary purpose of engaging and empowering youths and adult to preserve self with social values, discover self and develop ideas through literacy.
The International Literacy Day is celebrated annually on Sept. 8, which is an opportunity for governments, civil society organisations and stakeholders to highlight improvements in the world literacy rates.
Takim-Ndifon said that funding had become serious challenge in all sectors and the most hard hit was the non-formal educational sector.
“This conference aims to discuss the population of youths and adults who are not functionally literate and draw attention to the non-formal educational sector.
“Every year, millions of Nigerian children and youths leave school and join the growing numbers of the functionally literate in our society.
“This consistent increase in the number of schools enrolment and graduations becloud us from the reality that many others never actually make it into formal education institutions.
“They are those who are not functionally literate, even have they gone through some form of formal schooling; this group cannot express self in writing or reading,” she said.
Takim-Ndifon said that since the world had become a global village, the need arises to write and speak in more than one language.
“It is our hope that digitalisation can be a driving force to eradicate adult illiteracy.
“The dawn of the internet age has compounded the threats to being illiterate, but it has also provided a closer way to alleviate illiteracy and a quicker way to utilise the tools of literacy.
“In Nigeria, the official language is English, but there are over 520 written local languages, ability to read and write in one’s local language without English, is very limiting,” she said.
Also, Mrs Oluwakemi Kalesanwo, Director, Lagos State Agency of Mass Education, said that there was need for public and private partnership to promote and improve adult literacy education.
Kalesanwo said that the state government was doing its best to improve adult literacy education through the establishment of 1,232 centres at different local government areas.
“Government alone cannot eradicate illiteracy, that is why private sector, religion-based organisations and individuals should support and get involved in adult education centres.
“Those interested should try and locate adult literacy education near them, because the classes are free of charge with provision of materials.
“We are still far from the digital world; we can get there by encouraging and promoting literacy education in the country,” she said.
Commenting, Mr Anthony Olasile, Head, Multiclient, Sterling Assurance Ltd., said that government and private sector need to partner in order to improve literacy education.
Olasile said that literacy education would help to acquire more knowledge, especially on digital and knowledge which helps to relate with our environments.
Edited by Olagoke Olatoye