International Literacy Day, celebrated world over on 8th September annually, is an opportunity for governments, civil society and stakeholders to highlight improvements in world literacy rates and reflect on literacy challenges globally. The issue of literacy is a key component of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders in September 2015, promotes universal access to quality education and learning opportunities throughout people’s live, ensures that young people achieve literacy and numeracy and also ensures that adults who lack these skills are given the opportunity to acquire them.
Theme for the 2021 celebration is: “Literacy For a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the Digital Divide”. Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist and distributed unevenly across countries and populations, including Nigeria.
Thus, the federal government, in its effort to eradicate illiteracy in Nigeria, gave directive for the establishment of Agencies for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non- Formal Education in all the States of the federation with a view to maintaining effective and functional education as well as eradicating illiteracy across the country.
Commendations must go to the Anambra state government for establishing the Agency for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non- formal Education in 1993. Since then the agency has shown great commitment in ensuring that the aim for establishing the agency is achieved through various sensitization and mobilization tours, seminars, workshops, trainings and constant monitoring of literacy centers and other activities aimed at reducing the illiteracy rate drastically.
Due to the massive support of Governor Willie Obiano, Anambra state can now boast of numerous Adult and Vocational Education Centers across the state with great impact. No wonder Anambra state is in the list of states in the federation with high level of educated citizens.
However, the get rich quick syndrome is a serious cankerworm. Nowadays, male children are switching over to apprenticeship and trading, regarding education as waste of time and money, while young girls are abandoning their studies for early marriage, resulting in frustrated illiterate youths and adults.
To redress this ugly trend, Governor Willie Obiano, assisted by the Commissioner for Basic Education, Professor Kate Omenugha, took proactive measures towards reviving the education sector, especially the Adult and Non-formal Education sub sector with a view to rehabilitating the illiterate and out of school syndrome among the youths.
Thanks to Governor Obiano for his massive support to advocacy, mobilization and sensitization of the 179 communities in the state on the importance of education. In appreciation of the governor’s commitment in the education sector, W.H.O approved training of sixty facilitators on innovative skills for adults and youth learners in Awka, which improved their performance in both internal and external examinations.
The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education, Abuja, also, in their appreciation to Governor Obiano, contributed in capacity training of workers and facilitators on modern teaching methods. The positive impacts of the training programme and continuous advocacy activities boosted the moral of learners, leading to increased enrollment at all the centers.
Due to the increased enrollment, the state government established more training centers, bringing the total number of functional training centers in the state to two hundred and eight-six. The working governor also provided thousands of desks, chairs and modern rechargeable lanterns to all learning centers, making it possible for adult learners to complete their academic activities late in the evening. Akpokuedike global recently approved two hundred and thirty-three signposts at the six education zones, which the agency has distributed and mounted at the centers.
With all these contributions and efforts of the Obiano-led administration in education, the Basic Education commissioner, Professor Omenugha and other stakeholders, illiteracy will surely be eradicated in Anambra state.
WRITTEN BY OBIANUJU ORAKWE