Nigeria, top oil producer, has 64 million adult illiterates – Official

The National Mass Education Commission, NMEC, says 64 million Nigerian adults are illiterate.

The Chairman of the Governing Board of the commission, Esther Udehi, made this known on Monday in Awka during a courtesy call to the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke.

She said the trend is worrisome.

The visit was part of the activities lined up to mark the International Literacy Day, ILD, in the state.

Mrs. Udehi said Nigeria’ s dream of attaining the Education For All, EFA, Goal 2015 would become elusive except something was urgently done to reverse the trend.

“It is a shame that in the 21st century we should be having such a number of illiterates.

It is thing of concern to everyone.”

She said the ILD celebration was, therefore, an opportunity for the commission to drum up support for adult literacy.

The chairman tasked states to ensure that the 774 local government areas were well equipped and empowered to be the “hearts of advocacy” for literacy.

She noted that the laudable policies of government at all levels could not be achieved with such a large population of illiterates in the country.

“We all know that an illiterate is a danger, not only to himself, but to the society at large,” Mr. Udehi said.

In his response, Mr. Okeke said that the Anambra Government was conscious of the enormous challenges confronting the education sector, especially in terms of achieving the EFA Goal.

Mr. Okeke said the government was committed to ensuring that Anambra became one of the states with the largest population of educated people.

The deputy governor, therefore, pledged the state’s support for the non-formal education sector to achieve this set goal.

The shocking revelation that 64 million adults are illiterates appears a national disgrace for a country that is one of the world’s largest oil producers.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in 2013 released an equally shocking report indicating that one out of every five Nigerian children is out of school.

The UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report (EAGMR) says Nigeria holds the world record of having the highest number of its young people out of school.

With approximately 10.5 million kids out of school, Nigeria dominates twelve other countries with which it accounts for 47 percent of the global out-of-school population.

The other countries are Pakistan (5.1 million); Ethiopia (2.4million); India (2.3million); Philippines (1.5million); Cote D’Ivoire (1.2million); Burkina Faso (1million); Niger (1million); Kenya (1million); Yemen (0.9million); Mali (0.8million) and South Africa (0.7million).

And of all these countries, UNESCO says Nigeria is among the four that has experienced the highest increase since 1999.

Although, UNESCO officials blame the drop in school enrolment in some countries on the decrease in aid between 2010 and 2011, anecdotal evidence suggests that the monumental corruption at all levels of government might have worsened Nigeria’s case.

In Nigeria, officials routinely steal funds appropriated for building classrooms, buying textbooks and implementing programmes that should bring more children to school.

Recently some officials were indicted for stealing funds released to the nomadic education commission, an agency charged with the responsibility of getting Fulani herdsmen to enroll their kids in school.

“This is a shame for our country,” says Femi Falade, a private school owner in Ijebu-Ode. “President Jonathan and state governors should bury their heads in shame.”

(NAN)


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  • Ogom

    Wow, we even managed to double the abysmal number of out of school kids in Pakistan!

    Even Ethiopia and Mali try pass us.. Nigeria we hail thee!

    • Otile

      Don’t say Ethiopia… The educated Ethiopians have left the country while the illiterates in Mali are Fulani nomads.

      • Deltans

        Hahaha! Prisipa Otile, Na only you waka come? where’s madam illiterate and her husband?

        • Otile

          Change your name to Mohammed Saidu or something else. You are not Deltan, you are Malian.

          • Deltans

            So one has to be Otile, Ebele, Asari or Tempolo to be a Deltan? Does every deltan have to be Dumb and illiterate like Jonathan and his Comedian wife? You are mistaken!

  • Wähala

    Numero Uno: Lady Hippo!
    Hmmm… continue. Continue prosecuting Man o’ Godu, Ayo Oritsejafor. DiarisGodoo… who see ev’rytin. DiarisGodoo!
    The God dat we worshipping will ansa. DiarisGod. Diaris God in ev’rytin we’re doing. Hmm, hmm… comtinue, hmm!
    My fellow widows, our numbers will increase if dem no release our dotars. Diarisgodoobiko! DiarisGod. Chai, chai… tufia!
    God dat send his shark to swallow Jona will ansa… DiarisGod! God of Ayo, Adebayo an’ Joshua will ansa… DiarisGodu o!
    He will ansa… me-ma know e go ansa us. Dem say, ‘God dey’…but I say, no be for motor, na for mans-n-womans like we!
    So, let us prayer for God… #GoduBikoSendDown your shark to swallow my Jona and bring us safety back to Otuoke enclave… wota don pass gari for your chidrens. Na afa chukwu bi n’igwe we command you in Jisos name… Amioo! Alleluuu, Alleluia. Alleluuu, Alleluia… Now, you can open your eyes IJN.

    “Where is Gwoza sef?” – Dr. Dumbo (receiving an official delegation from Borno State at the Villa)

    So, with a “First Couple” as stark illiterates, no one should be surprised that 33% of students who sat the last WAEC flunked English & Maths… 78% of graduates cannot even express themselves lucidly. Who are the illiterate “adults” if not the same recycled people passing thru our dilapidated education system. Chief Awolowo must be turning in his grave with Alhaji Jakande rolling in tears right now. The must be feeling the pains of wasted generations roaming the streets unemployed… and unemployable! TUFIAKWA!

    • Gideon Orkar

      Uncle small small o.

    • dudu

      U r not nice at all and you take no prisoners

      • Wähala

        In democracy, majority carries the vote…
        Since majority of Nigerians elected an illiterate First Couple, linear logic means this report is pin-point right. Again, simply put, majority of Nigerians are illiterates… no gainsaying it but it’s fact that can’t be argued. Kapisch?

        • Otile

          It is easy for to hide in Deutschland and mock us, but 500 heads of cattle beat your annual salary in German mark, and in real terms. By the way, where are you, in Munich or Bergen Belsen, places of skull?

  • Chris1408

    We’ve experienced the highest increase since 1999. I guess it’s part of the transformation our wonderful politicians are bragging about.

  • adnoy

    Most of the illetreate adults are from the north

    • Wähala

      Lady Hippo is from Pitakwa!

    • Chris1408

      North or south, we are all Nigerians.

      • Otile

        In other words you are saying: “We are all together”.

        • Efe1

          He is saying and I agree with him, that 85% of NIGERIANS are illiterates. For holding such view as you do, you are an illitrate.

          • Otile

            I am not complaining either.

          • Tonnero

            That is the problem. A bomb does not complain either. However, when it goes off……. An illiterate is a danger to himself and to society even when he is not complaining.

    • Efe1

      I hope going to school and coming out with useless certificate is not what you are referring to as education. If we should look at it critically, 85% of NIGERIANS are stack illiterate not minding the fact that they have gone to universities. Look at Wike, GEJ, Patience, etc, do they look like educated people?

      • adnoy

        It should be basic reading and writing and simple arithmetic. In present day nigeria, a JSC holder or even basic 6 holder should be able to do this.

        • Factual

          Basic reading and writing in which language? Is it in English or any other language?

        • Tonnero

          You must be living in cuckoo land if you think a JSC holder talk less of a Primary 6 holder can do the 3Rs (Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic). Even some university graduates struggle with it. It would be even worse if I added a fourth R – Reasoning. Then, as you can see from the posts here, a large chunk of Nigerians would struggle.

      • factual

        Thanks my brother for exposing them.

      • Otile

        Are you richer than a good Fulani herdsman? Show him your Oxford degree, he will top it with Naira and kobo.

    • kick ’em out

      Na only you waka come?

    • Otile

      Well, for obvious reasons.

    • checkmate

      Mr.man, the correct spelling is “illiterate” not “illetreate” This shows that you are one of those illiterates from the South.

      • adnoy

        So one qualifies to be an illiterate if he makes a spelling mistake? You need to confirm the meaning of the word

        • checkmate

          Since you can use the word, why don’t you tell us the meaning so that we can know who is an illiterate.

    • Tonnero

      What’s your point?

  • Ken

    Break it down by states and you’ll see those holding back the country.

    • Enemona

      That’s not an excuse, it’s a total failure to the government an the entire country. Outside the country no one cares whether you come from the south or the north, they don’t know the difference and they don’t care, all they know is that our country is backward as such we are also backward.

      Whether you are from the north or south, the grim figures have serious implications for us. If you travel around like I do, you would understand why these figures are very bad for all of us, we seen as a country not regions or states, we are Nigerians and the outside world doesn’t give a hoot if you’re the most educated amongst Nigerian, the stigma sticks! So drop that toga and where reality on your vest!

      • Otile

        My friend stop blaming the government of Jonathan for this. The only reason Jonathan is there is that Musa Yaradua died, for if he was still alive they would allow him to do his 3rd term till they groom another Fulani to take over. What did Buhari do for education when he was a head of state? Didn’t he close down schools and converted them to prisons? Didn’t he drive our intellectuals into exile?

        • Efe1

          Is this a justification for GEJ not doing anything or what are you attempting to do?

          • the truth

            who says nothing is been done? the almajiri schools built in the north is that not something. public funding for education is at an all time high. why is it that you would never say the truth when it is obvious. Did this rot start under jonathan? do you think rapid progress would be made in just 5 years after over 50 years of bad policies,. my brother it is good to criticize but be objective and constructive. we are always quick to blame jonathan, but forget the past leaders that put us into this mess. i guess this statistics cover only from 2011- 2014, and from 1960-2011 nigeria was number 1. face reality

          • Nigerian

            Mr. Neutral observer, How’s business?

          • the truth

            mr always believing sahara(sharia) reporters how far

          • Nigerian

            Nice! How about the video?I guess you enjoyed it.

          • the truth

            i hope you enjoyed been part of the grand conspiracy. u didnt answer my questions i posed to you. remember i never doubted if there was a video i asked u to provide a link or source so i could watch it. why was the statement not completed? why was it edited? did they edit obamas complete statement? they want you to believe the first and last statement jonathan made was “when you get to lagos you are almost in nigeria”. do you sincerly believe, that was the complete statement? what was the context of the statement made? was he saying lagos is the melting pot, or the financial hub of the nation? we do not know because they cut it. but it is really a source of pain that we do not independently think and formulate ideologies based on our unbiased assessment of events.u believe what they tell u, and just to let you know that was the most painful 35 minutes of my life watching that clown dr damages. to show you how little this people think of people like you who patronize them is that television nurse wasn’t even nigerian, but she has the guts to insult our president. good job good job bravo

          • Nigerian

            I am happy that you watched the video and believe that he made the statement. However, one thing you should do is to try and get the video from another source and watch in order to come up with your clear assessment of your oga. It’s really easy to get it somewhere else. Give a try for the love you have for your oga. Still I am yet to see your neutrality.

          • the truth

            that is an incomplete statement, and can’t pass for a valid statement. how would you feel if you are quoted but not the full quote is used. your speech is edited for smear as they did. i am always neutral sir. all my comments would tell you i am neutral, its up to you be neutral too and stop looking at just one side of the story without investigating. if i didnt tell you that the statement was incomplete you would have taken it to the bank

          • Nigerian

            “….all my comments would tell you i am neutral,” I disagree. Tell the truth for once. You don’t have anything to lose. Many will understand your short comings. Try it!

          • the truth

            please why not be the touch bearer by start saying the truth. as i said earlier, i am neutral, impartial and independent. i have criticised both apc and pdp in so many occasions. so look down through the mirror and confidently say you have done the same.if yes thumps up, if no ?????????????????. ask your why no?

          • Nigerian

            Tell the truth. Don’t be shy.

          • Tonnero

            You really think you are unbiased? How delusional can one get?

          • Deltans

            Of course, Rapid progress has been made in stealing Billions of Dollars which would have been used to provide qualitative education, as well as adequate security to innocent citizens that are being killed every day.

          • the truth

            but you don’t deny that education spending according to the budget is at an all time high. if money is dispersed and permanent secretaries and lga education secretaries syphone the money is that Jonathan’s fault. the truth of the matter is although he is the president he can’t come down to watch your local government area chairman or state commissioner for education. mind you education is also funded by your state governors through state budgets. how is that jonathan’s fault? where is the criticism for state governors? as i said if we are been honest with ourselves corruption is u, it is me, it is the akara seller on the road side, it is the garri seller in the market, we are all guilty as a society. do you think only government officials are corrupt? there needs to be a rapid flush of corruption and sensitization on an average nigerian.

          • Deltans

            That’s why we need someone that can fight it from the top, not someone that is an accomplice who encourages it. I guess, you know what i mean.

          • the truth

            hypocrisy at its highest level. people like you are the problem we face in nigeria. please leave sentiments, party affiliations, ethnic and tribalistic tendencies and advocate for the truth. you are ready to crucify the president for corruption, but you would let the state governors go free. since they are not the top. if i am in delta state who is nearer to me uduaghan or jonathan? if delta state is awarded 24 billion naira for education and uduaghan decides to pocket it, don’t forget that money is needed to service state universities, secondary and primary schools but since he is not the president he is fine for now, but the federal government awards 70 million for the federal institutions in delta state and they are mismanaged by delta state federal representatives, they should be crucified. which schools do you see more in delta state? the one federal tertiary institution in delta state or the hundreds of primary, secondary and state universities? who provides more services in delta state in education state or federal government? if you answer those questions then you would see your reasoning is flawed. corruption should be tackled from all angles, not selective approach like you want.

          • Deltans

            Good analysis. But you don’t seem to comprehend what i mean. “someone to fight it at the top” refers to anybody that is at the top whether at the Federal, State, Local Government levels. Take it easy I am not being biased like you who pretend to be objective and neutral in his assessment.

          • Tonnero

            I see you are quick to accuse others of what you are! Nothing in the guys statement talks about all the things you talked about.

          • Tonnero

            Na wa for you o. So it is not Jonathan’s fault that permsecs and education secretaries steal the money? Old boy, you have lost it. The leader is held accountable for successes and failures. It is his job to build a team that delivers on his vision. It is his job to build mechanisms that track the delivery of results and ensures that his programmes are being carried out. He is not God who says “Let there be Light” and then light appears. He actually has to put a team together, empower them and monitor their performance to ensure there is light! No wonder you guys give Jonathan a pass mark. Clearly our understanding of leadership is different.

          • Tonnero

            Do you know how long it took China to half its poverty rate? Unless you are in denial, there is clearly no sense of urgency in fixing this very bad and worsening situation. The PDP has been in power for 15 years so if you feel uncomfortable blaming Jonathan, then blame PDP.

            The first problem is that there is no coherent educational policy. True, OBJ did not spend a lot of time on education except towards the end when he made Oby Minister of Education but he did manage to restart the National open University. How has GEJ used that to expand access to education?

            You guys keep talking of the North only, education in the south is falling fast as well. Teachers cannot spell their own names (was that in Edo State?), refuse to be certified (Edo, Ekiti) and the PDP actually uses that as a vote catching ploy (Lagos)!. How can you have good students when the teachers are bad?

            For those who keep saying this is a state and local government problem, in the fiercely independent USA where states have their own constitutions, supreme courts, the FGN does not share money to states and cities have their own police, it was the George Bush administration that formulated the “no child left behind policy” to tackle disparities between education of rich and poorer folks (who tend to be minorities) and it was the Obama Administration that further refined it. Any id!ot understands that the national competitive advantage depends on the brain power of their citizens and that the K-12 years is where this is formulated. So every developed country is constantly watching the other to see how well they are doing and to steal any good ideas. Anyone who reads Obafemi Awolowo’s “Path to NIgerian Greatness” written before the 1983 elections will see that this is not a new problem and that the solutions are there.

          • Otile

            Don’t say that GEJ is doing nothing. The devil is a lair. In the present administration those motivated to go to school are doing so in droves, those who despise education despise it with reckless abandon. You can lead a doki to the stream you can’t make it drink. Unless you are a corrupt politician, are you richer than those you call illiterates?

          • Efe1

            Define rich.

          • Otile

            Rich means being rich, if you don’t like my definition go to your dictionary.

      • Ken

        It is this idea of collective culpability that has put Nigeria in the state where it is today. State and local governments fail to do their tasks – and get away with it – because everyone is interested in blaming the president. Let me ask you – which level of government is responsible to primary and secondary education? Until we begin to hold state of LGA officials responsible for their failures, we will continue to record such failure in areas they are supposed to take care of.

        • Enemona

          Ken, I agree with you on most of the points you raised, we need to hold every level of government responsible for their roles. My point is that, until we all come out to condemn what is wrong, whether we are affected or not, we will not move forward. My response is to those who are quick to say “it is not me, it is them”, it should be “we need to address this”.

          Whether we like it or not, the illiteracy level in the north is a result of the absence of good governance in the state and at the federal levels. By the way, the rise in illiteracy level is not just limited to the north, illiteracy has risen in all regions, we have, collectively and individually performed worse. What this means is that literacy levels have dropped really badly in all regions (South and North) and it is relatively worse in the North.

          The problem of illiteracy in the north is well-known and it can only be solved through a detailed and serious policy intervention from all levels of government, local or federal. Remember the issue of BH? We all in the south thought it was a localized issue in the north due to ‘their religious extremism’, has it now become a national issue? A saying goes thus: ‘If a neighbours roof is on fire but you go to sleep, soon it would be your roof on fire’.

          • Ken

            What kind of policy intervention will a ‘christian president from the south’ propose that will be accepted by the powers that be in some parts of the country? Take the Al Majiri schools for example, I served in the north and know terrible a system the Al Majiri is. Yet, no northerner of high standing has publicly commended it, talk less encouraging the thousands of youths roaming the streets to attend. On NTA network news the governor of Niger State – a retired civil servant and chairman of the northern governors form – said clearly that the north will resist any attempt to ban the Al majiri systemm as it is part of their culture.

            With this in mind, tell me why I should cry more than the one with the belly ache? Oh because we all Nigerians? Have you asked yourself how much they believe in the Nigerian state and their loyalty to it in relation to their religion and culture?

          • Tonnero

            Your mindset is entirely wrong. Note that some of the greatest supporters of the president are also in the North. More than half his party leaders are in the north. What is my point? If GEJ spends as much time selling his Northern educational policy as he does selling his politics, he will get the people behind him just as they are behind him in politics.

            And you miss the point if you think the problem is in the North alone. While the North has the largest share, the South is progressively getting worse. The number of children that are not in school is climbing and a significant chunk of even those that do go to school do not complete the K-12. Those who go all the way struggle to communicate even coherently thereby making them semi-illiterates. Why do you think those who can afford it send their children to private schools or rush them abroad?

        • Tonnero

          I think it is you that is interested in defending the president. The article did not blame the president alone but the president and all state governors. However, the central government shares the largest part of the blame. It is not for nothing that it is George Bush that developed the “no child left behind” policy even in the fiercely independent US.

          Some are right that the problem is not caused by GEJ but it is getting worse under him. While we can blame PDP which has been in power for all of the fourth republic, the Yar’Adua/Goodluck administration is the second in the fourth republic, has been in power since 2007 and things have been getting worse rather than better. Even the streets of the SE and SW, which used to be in the forefront of educating their people, are now teeming with illiterates and, across Nigeria, schools are churning out semi-illiterates. Leadership for this effort, as in all countries of the world, is provided at the national level while the states implement.

    • Efe1

      I hope the minister of state for education is among the illiterates counted.

      • Ken

        No he is not…he is a learned lawyer and his kinsmen are well educated.

        • Efe1

          Joke

  • Otile

    This article is stating the obvious. We already know that the illiterate people they are talking about are Fulani. From Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, to Yemen these people are pure Fulani. The Fulani people are very intelligent people, but they say that money is the root of all evils. The Fulanis are the richest black people on earth. Is there any black man richer than Dangote? Most Fulanis are nomads and have no use for education. You can’t beat a Fulani man tending his 800 heads of cattle. Do you know what a head of cattle costs?

    People should not despair because there are more illiterates in Nigeria than any other country. The reason is that there are more Fulanis in Nigeria than any other place on God’s earth.

    But in all these the good Fulani people are not complaining. You can display your paper qualification but they can display their hard currency. After all they have been ruling Nigeria since 1914.

  • the truth

    people criticizing jonathan as usual.who says nothing is been done? the almajiri schools built in the north
    is that not something. public funding for education is at an all time
    high. why is it that you would never say the truth when it is obvious.
    Did this rot start under jonathan? do you think rapid progress would be
    made in just 5 years after over 50 years of bad policies,educationally sound countries have great policies put in place for centuries now. my brother it
    is good to criticize but be objective and constructive. we are always
    quick to blame jonathan, but forget the past leaders that put us into
    this mess. i guess this statistics cover only from 2011- 2014, and from
    1960-2011 nigeria was number 1. face reality

    • Tonnero

      You are confused by your need to continue to defend a massively underperforming administration. Note that the criticism of Jonathan in the article was also extended to all state governments. You keep giving annoying excuses for the current administration. The first thing you should do before seeking power is to assess the state of every sector of the economy. You only seek power if you know you can fix what is bad or make substantial. visible progress in making improvements. It is therefore fo0lish to keep blaming past administrations. That is simply an excuse for failure. It is like Theodore Orji constantly blaming Orji Kalu for the poor state of Aba! You wanted the problem, now fix it.

  • Maria

    Jonathan is the number one adult illiterate in Nigeria.

  • Mr. Abdin

    NIGERIANS SHOULD NOTE THAT WITH THE PRESENT LEADERSHIP ON GROUND WE SHOULD EXPECT MORE ADULT ILLITERATES.