As part of innovative drive to halt rising mass illiteracy in the country, the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non formal Education (NMEC) has canvassed the intervention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to spread mass literacy and non-formal adult education in the country.
Executive Secretary of NMEC, Prof Abba Abubakar Haladu dropped this hint during a courtesy visit to the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta recently.
The visiting NMEC team that was received by Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner (Technical Services) at NCC on behalf of the EVC listed the beauty of mass literacy and dangers of illiteracy.
According to Prof Haladu, “literacy education is the bedrock of development because it assists in the improvement of the lives of the people through the provision of relevant skills, competences and knowledge which enable beneficiaries to take appropriate decision about their lives and families”.
He said that if quality education is provided to the citizenry, the impact will be obvious and society would benefit, it will fuel modernity, knowledge based economy and development.
He listed dangers of illiteracy to include but not limited to ill-health, population explosion, rural-urban drift, gang influence, ignorance, poverty and the culture of silence over sensitive matters among others.
He acknowledged however, that progress has been made in literacy education in the country but there is more to be done.
Prof. Haladu gave figures of mass literacy with a disturbing accuracy saying “There are estimated over 60million adult and youth illiterates and 11.5million out of school children and this is a major challenge to the country”.
In a statement issued by the Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo disclosed that NMEC enlisted the collaboration of NCC to correct the imbalance and mentioned some of the areas the NCC could assist to include among others, Strengthening of NMEC headquarters (HQ) with the necessary ICT facilities such as unlimited internet access, Desktop Computers, Inverter, Solar panels and batteries for uninterrupted power supply for the ICT facilities.
Also listed is to equip 13 community learning centres constructed by NMEC with Solar panels, inverter, unlimited internet access, Desktop Computers, including tables and chairs. The community learning centres are located in the following states: Edo, Rivers, Plateau, Katsina, Kano, Bauchi, Taraba, Imo, Anambra, Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara and FCT.
To be equipped include Kano Training and Documentation Centre and the Minna Resource Centre with Desktop Computers, unlimited internet access, Solar Panels, inverters, batteries and tables/chairs. This gesture will facilitate the effective take off of the ICT units in the centres.
There will also be the provision of internet and ICT facilities for the smooth take off of NFE Education Management Information units in the 36 states and FCT Agencies for Adult and Non-Formal Education.
Another angle will be capacity building of relevant staff on ICTs at the NMEC headquarters, zonal offices, states agencies and at the community learning centres established by the Commission.
Other strategies in the new deal include support the airing of jingles and Literacy campaigns through Radio Programme in select radio and television stations as means of sensitization, mobilization and advocacy in favour of mass literacy and non-formal education.
Indications are also rife that any other area of support not listed above that would assist NMEC in the task of eradicating illiteracy and the enhancement of lifelong learning amongst Nigerians.
Responding, Maska who stood in for Prof. Danbatta said “it is heartwarming to note that your organisation and NCC share a common education growth objective”.
The NCC, he explained, is involved in promoting a knowledge-based economy through its intervention in both Secondary and Tertiary Institutions across the country.
Maska listed NCC’s intervention to include the Advanced Digital Awareness for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI) and Digital Awareness Program (DAP) among others.
He said himself and the EVC come from the academic background and so will be prone to the suggestions of the NMEC boss, “even though it is a big basket of demands, we will pass the information to the EVC and get back to you”, Maska added.
NCC’s Directors present at the reception for the NMEC delegation included: Mr. Tony Ojobo (Public Affairs), Mrs. Iyabo Sholanke (Research & Development), Mr. Ayuba Shuaibu (Universal Service Provision Fund) and Mr. Kehinde Oladipo (Administration).
The NMEC delegation included Mr. Ahmed Adoga, Director of Administration and General Services, Dr. Musa Gusau, Director of Literacy & Development, Dr. (Mrs.) Victoria King, Director Monitoring and Evaluation, and Dr. Matthew Onu (Director of Planning, Research and Statistics) among others.