By Ritkimwa Istifanus and Benedicta Apeh
Literacy means being able to read and write. The literacy skills of reading and writing is very important in the development of human lives and the nation at large. Literacy, however has not been completely embraced by all in our nation, leading to evident underdevelopment, poverty, prevalent decadence in the society.
Evidence from research by UNESCO showed that the rate of literacy in Nigeria as at 2018 was 62.9%, a 10.94% increase from 2008. This means that over 38% of Nigeria adults are illiterate. Reasons for these figures are not far-fetched.
Though Nigeria has good educational policies, the government has failed to implement them, which are some of the reasons why there are so many challenges in our educational sector, communities and societies. Some communities have no adequate learning environment, whereby a student will have to sit on floor or under a tree to learn, learning materials are also not readily made available. The educational system is definitely very poor when it comes to teachers’ training and remuneration. All these stands as barriers to quality education.
To bridge these gaps in the educational system, the media must play their role in keeping the conversation about literacy alive and going; these platforms should be used as one of the major tools to educate the Nigerian populace. Non-Governmental Organizations have been of great help through giving of scholarships to ensure that those who cannot afford to go to school can get a good formal education, also taking them through informal education. However, advocacy should continually be a major part of their work; being carried out relentlessly, to ensure that policies are implemented, the school structures are adequate and suitable enough for learning and literacy is widespread.
As at 2019/2020, COVID 19 interrupted the learning system, making it inevitable the need for widespread digitalization in all aspects of our lives especially in the educational system. Information and technology is power and education gives us access to so many things. The internet has made access to learning easier, many more people can now study online. Together, if well harnessed, online technology and education makes the world a better place. Therefore, more effort should be made by the government and all major stakeholders to see that literacy, that is, reading and writing is widespread in the nation and the use of online learning platforms should be encouraged; not only available to a selected few. Though it may seem like a long shot, the starting point is that smart phones are today used by many; the literate and non-literate, digitally knowledgeable individuals or not, children and adult alike. So, this is a uniting force to see that literacy and education is widely spread and embraced by all. This could be our starting point, engaging all in this push for literacy; individuals, the media, non-governmental organizations, the government.
Good education must not be exclusively preserved for the rich and famous, it is the right of all. A child is entitled to free education from primary to junior secondary school, vocational and higher education learning at least a provision of lifelong learning opportunities for youth and adult. Girl-children and women, who comprise about half of our population need education to function better in the society, in the home front and at professional levels. We all have the responsibility to learn to be literate, teach and encourage others to be also. No Nigerian child is a bad learner. Truth be told, we are great learners.
In a bid to narrow this literacy divide, year after year, Flickers of Hope Foundation offers scholarship to indigent children, making sure they are educated formally and also informally for their all-round development.( Read more about our Project Back2School ). Also, FOH often organizes computer literacy and digital trainings for children, this is to aid them compete favorably in the society and in the long run, contribute to the development of their nation.
This is a good opportunity to join us as we contribute to reducing the rate of illiteracy in our society. (See About Us for our contact information)
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