The Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah Opiah, has asserted that the current illiteracy level of Nigeria has reduced to 31 percent, compared to previous years. Prior to this development, as of September 2021, data from the ministry of education revealed that 38 percent of the 200 million population of Nigeria, which estimates to over 76 million adults, are illiterate. However, the Minister, at the ministerial briefing to mark the 2022 International Literacy Day, stated that notwithstanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s illiteracy rate has reduced.
International Literacy Day, as said by Opiah, is marked by all UN member nations as a medium of reaffirming commitment towards the promotion of education and literacy. This act therefore emphasizes the significance of education to human existence. Rapid scientific and technological advancements have complexified the world, changing and adding more meaning to what it means to be literate. Notwithstanding the several changes, the federal government will make every effort to meet up with the demands of the present moment.
ILD was declared by UNESCO on October 26, 1966.
The International Literacy Day, a September 8 international observance, was declared by UNESCO on October 26, 1966, at the 14th session of UNESCO’s General Conference and was first celebrated on September 8, 1967. The aim of ILD is to reveal the significance of literacy to people, communities and societies. According to an estimation, over 775 million lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults are illiterates and two-thirds of them are women; and about 60 million children are out of school.
The ILD has been celebrated with the inclusion of specific themes which are in relation with Education for All goals and some United Nations programs such as the United Nations Literacy Decade. The theme for 2007 and 2008 ILD celebration was “Literacy and Health”; the theme for 2009 and 2010 was “Literacy and Empowerment”; the theme for 2011 and 2012 was “Literacy and Peace”. Asides the creation of awareness through the annual celebration, writers also contribute to raising awareness concerning the problem of illiteracy.
2022 ILD theme creates awareness about literacy learning spaces.
The theme of the 2022 International Literacy Day, ‘Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces; Exploring Opportunities and Possibilities’, gives an opportunity to reexamine the fundamental significance of literacy learning spaces to foster resilience and build quality, equitable, and inclusive education for everyone. The theme serves as a means of creating further awareness about the distinct literacy learning spaces which concerns about the needs of youths and adults. These needs of are based on recent knowledge and emerging evidence that are in relation to effective policies, systems, governance, programs, teaching and learning practice, and monitoring of learning spaces.
The goal of the International Literacy Day is to promote reading as an empowerment for both people and communities. It is celebrated as a reminder to stakeholders of the status of literacy and adult learning in nations and across the world. It is also a means of striving to entreat for more dedication, enthusiasm and commitment by everyone towards the enablement of mass literacy delivery; despite the COVID-19 pandemic that struck the whole world unexpectedly.
Youth and Adult Literacy has been included in the Ministry’s MSP.
In addition, Youth and Adult Literacy has been included as a pillar in the Ministry of Education’s Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP). This demonstration has revealed the commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria towards the advancement of literacy. More significantly, according to the minister’s statements, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning now regards learning cities as “the Pillar of Sustainable Development” in a world that is characterized by high level of Infrastructural, economic, and technological advancement. This act will aid the promotion of integrated approach to literacy learning that has its foundation on the principles of lifelong learning, being the main focus of UNESCO’s ILD for 2022.