OrderPaperToday– The House of Representatives on Thursday urged the Federal Ministry of Education to set up at least one Adult Education Centre (AEC) in each of the wards in the federation.
The Green Chamber also urged states and the local governments areas across the country to work in unison towards resuscitating community libraries in each community and township.
These resolutions followed a motion on need to curb the menace of high rate of illiteracy in Nigeria sponsored by Mr Jimoh Olajide (Lagos, APC) during plenary.
In his lead debate, Mr Olajide noted that insecurity and other problems facing Nigeria at the moment have a direct link to the high rate of illiteracy in the country as it not only encourages social vices to increase but also impedes people from contributing positively to the nation’s growth.
He explained that education is the bedrock of any nation’s development, hence, any nation that fails to prioritise education is bound to fail because it had been said that no society can grow beyond its level of education.
The lawmaker reminded the House that in November 2017, the minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, expressed concern over the country’s high rate of illiteracy, claiming that about 60 million Nigerians and approximately 30 percent of Nigeria’s total population can neither read nor write, while the females account for nearly 60 percent of the country’s illiterate population.
According to him, the percentage of Nigeria’s budget committed to the education sector in each year is very low, and almost 90 per cent of federal and states governments’ annual appropriations for the education sector are committed to payment of staff salaries and other statutory deductions, while less than 10 per cent is usually for the execution of capital projects and procurement of teaching materials
“The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has reported that the literacy rates in countries like Cuba, Poland and Estonia are as high as 99.8 per cent, while Barbados, Latvia and Slovenia have attained 99.7 per cent, while Nigeria’s literacy rate is still at 69.1 per cent.”
He continued, “Section 18(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 provides that government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels, while sub-section (2) provides that government shall strive to eradicate illiteracy and to this end, government shall, as and when practicable, provide free, compulsory and universal primary education free secondary education, free university education and free adult literacy programme”.
Mr Olajide further advised that urgent legislative action should be taken on the issue of high level of illiteracy in Nigeria would go a long way in reducing the illiteracy level and also contributing immensely to nation building.
The motion was unanimously adopted when put to voice vote by the presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Ahmed Wase.
Committees on Basic Education and Services, Tertiary Education and Services, Women Affairs and Social Development, Information and National Orientation, Ethics and Values, Human Rights, and Science and Technology were mandated to convene a stakeholders meeting for the purpose of finding lasting solution to the menace of illiteracy in Nigeria.