By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA – The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) disclosed yesterday that a total of 46,340,000 Nigerians are illiterates.
Acting Executive Secretary of NMEC, Alhaji Jibrin Paiko, who stated this in Abuja at a press briefing to mark todayâ€™s International Literacy Day celebration, said, the figure represented the 2006 National Population Census which puts literacy rate at 66.9 per cent.
He said: â€œAccording to Nigeriaâ€™s 2006 National Population Census, Nigeria has a population of 140,000,000 with a literacy rate of 66.9%. This rise on literacy level from previous 57% is as a result of the efforts put by National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) and the States Agencies for Mass Education (SAMEs).
â€œThus literacy rate in Nigeria improved from 56.7% in 1991 to 66.9% in 2006. This is, therefore, an indication that 46,340,000 Nigerians are illiterates.â€
Determined to address this illiteracy rate, Paiko said “the present administration has responded with its education and human development agenda in the Seven-Point Agenda and the vibrancy of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the NMEC which caters for large number of adults, adolescents, men and women who had no access to basic education or dropped out prematurely.
â€œHundreds of thousands are lapsing back into illiteracy, hundreds of thousands are unemployed and lacking in any skill and wasting away in active and productive phase of life.
â€œHow will this people contribute meaningfully to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country? Thus, non-formal basic and functional education provide the avenue that the NMEC and its sister parastatals are exploiting to combat the scourge of illiteracy in the country,” he said.