Tackle illiteracy, UNESCO tells state governments

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, has advised state governments, especially Northern states, to address illiteracy challenges confronting the country.

The Regional Director of UNESCO, Hassana Alidou, gave the advice in Abuja at a one-day advocacy meeting on revitalising adult and youth literacy programme.

The 19 commissioners for education in the Northern part of the country attended the meeting.

Ms. Alidou was represented by Daidou Jallow, Senior Programme Specialist on education.

The director said the meeting was aimed at strengthening the national capacity for designing, delivering, evaluating and monitoring the quality of literacy programmes in the country.

According to her, UNESCO has provided the technical support for all phases to ensure the development of strategic framework for literacy and non-formal education in Nigeria.

She said UNESCO, in collaboration with National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC), had trained 5,264 facilitators across the six geo-political zones to address illiteracy in Nigeria.

“These facilitators have been picked from 146 local government areas of the country under the project.

“The facilitators, however, will be unable to contribute to raising literacy level in their respective states if they are not engaged by the states for which they are trained.

“The role of the states in engaging these facilitators is therefore crucial,’’ she said.

She, however, called for collaboration from all stakeholders in the various states to address the issue of adult and youth illiteracy.

The Executive Secretary of NMEC, Jibrin Paiko, advocated for proper funding of facilitators to enable them actualise their objectives.

Mr. Paiko explained that the commission had advocated for a stipend of N7, 500 to be paid to the facilitators in each state, adding that only few states had keyed into this policy.

He commended the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Rivers states on their efforts to eradicate illiteracy in the country.

“Major challenge face by NMEC is the payment of N7, 500 as salary for facilitators as only few states are doing this by paying more than the fixed amount to the facilitators.
“But we are hoping to get sustained funding nationwide, especially at state and local government levels,’’ he said.

Alhaji Mohammed Lamin, Yobe Commissioner for Education, called on all Northern states to key in to this project to uplift the educational base of the country.

“If you educate an adult, you will never have all forms of social vices in the country because an educated parent will not allow his or her child to wander about,’’ he said.

Similarly, Mrs Aishatu Ahmed, Gombe state Commissioner for Education, said it was high time the country realised the importance of including adult vocational literacy in the budgetary allocation of each state.

She commended UNESCO and NMEC for assisting states to raise their educational standards. (NAN)

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