It is no longer news that September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCPO on November 17, 1965 with the aim to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.
A recent national literacy survey conducted by NMEC in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics in Nigeria, estimates adult literacy rate at 56.9 percent, with huge variations between states, regions and sex.
The expectation of the federal government is to attain an additional 50 per cent enrolment in mass literacy and 30 percent increase enrolment in nomadic education by 2015. to this end, the federal government, through the MDG office, in 2009 released the sum of one billion naira seed money in trust to UNESCO for revitalizing adult and youth literacy in the country.
The federal government has stated its commitment to make Nigeria one of the world’s leading economies come 2020. It has tried to put in place some modalities that will help achieve the laudable dream. One does not need to be told that education is a catalyst for the attainment of such. Little wonder, the federal government has targeted 2015 as the magic year when it hopes to give basic education to every Nigerian.
In December, 2011, the executive secretary of NMEC, Dr Paiko, clearly stated that the commission, a sister body to UBEC, was set to give basic education to 10 million Nigerians annually so that by 2015, 40 million Nigerians would have benefitted from the scheme. However, Nigeria has been estimated to have a population of about 160 million and by 2015, analysts have predicted that this will increase due to several births which are a normal and common phenomenon.
Further to this and based on Nigeria’s belief that education is a fundamental human right, UBE programme was introduced in 1999 with its enabling Act signed into law in 2004.a bold initiative to eradicate illiteracy, ignorance and poverty as well as stimulate and accelerate national development, political consciousness and national integration at the federal, state and local government levels.
It is hoped that the all inclusive programmes will bring within its ambit:
Programmes and initiatives for early childhood education and development.
Programmes and initiatives for the acquisition of functional literacy, numeracy and life skills.
Special programmes for nomadic populations.
Out of school children, non formal programmes for updating the knowledge and skills of people who left the formal education system before acquiring the basic knowledge and skills needed for life-long learning.
Non-formal skills and apprenticeship training for adolescents and youth, who have not had the benefit of formal education.
The formal school system from the beginning of primary education to the end of the junior secondary school.
Children who are hungry and uncared for are likely to grow up bitter. Hence, the programmes of both commissions for almajiri, nomads, fishermen children, female children and all other programmes for out-of-school children have been designed to ensure that all Nigerian children have equal opportunities to be nurtured and educated to make a positive impact on the common future which they all share.