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Only 7% of youths in Nigeria have ICT skills

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By Usman Oladimeji

There is disparity in the completion of senior secondary education.

Recently released data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reveals that just 7 percent of young people aged 15-24 in Nigeria possess ICT skills. The report also highlights that 73 percent of individuals in this age group are literate, with literacy being determined by their ability to read a brief statement or their school attendance. The number of primary school-aged children not attending school in Nigeria amounts to 25%. This percentage decreases to 25% for junior secondary school children, but then rises to 34% for senior secondary school children.

According to the report, there is a notable disparity in foundational reading and numeracy skills among children aged 7 to 14. While 27 percent possess adequate reading abilities, only 25 percent exhibit proficient numeracy skills. The study also highlighted that socio-economic status plays a significant role in determining a child’s academic proficiency, with urban and affluent children showcasing higher levels of foundational skills in both reading and numeracy. It further reveals a significant disparity in foundational reading skills between children in the top wealth quintile and those in the bottom wealth quintile, with the wealthy group scoring 62 percentage points higher.

Bauchi state’s primary level completion rate stood at 30%.

The educational attainment gap between the wealthiest and poorest quintiles is significant. Research shows that nearly all (97%) children from the wealthiest quintile finish primary school, while less than half (34%) of those from the poorest quintile do. Similarly, a large disparity exists in the completion of senior secondary education, with a majority of children from the wealthiest quintile graduating compared to only a small fraction from the poorest quintile. Children from various ethnic backgrounds in southern states Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw, Ibibio, and Edo tend to have higher rates of completing school compared to those from other ethnic groups. Meanwhile, over 40 percent of children who do not finish their education belong to the Hausa ethnicity.

Anambra state boasts an impressive primary school completion rate of 99 percent, the highest in all levels of education. In stark contrast, Bauchi state lags behind with a woeful primary completion rate of just 30 percent, highlighting a stark disparity between the two states. Completion rates decrease at every level, but certain states like Abia and Rivers (at the upper end) and Yobe and Gombe (in the middle) do not exhibit a significant drop in completion rates from primary to junior secondary.

73% of 10-year-olds struggled to comprehend basic texts.

Boys make up a slightly larger portion of children who drop out before completing primary school, while girls comprise a larger percentage of those who do not finish senior secondary school. The majority of children who do not complete a certain level of education live in rural areas and most of these children have mothers with no formal education. For MICS, assessing literacy involves evaluating respondents’ reading proficiency with short, straightforward statements or through their level of education. Individuals who completed lower secondary school or higher are considered literate. Conversely, those who only completed primary school exhibit lower literacy rates, standing at 11 percent.

UNICEF’s report from the previous year disclosed a troubling statistic: 73% of 10-year-olds in Nigeria struggled to comprehend basic texts. Additionally, only 25% of children between the ages of seven and 14 were found to possess essential skills. The analysis further revealed that 27% had adequate literacy skills, while 25% demonstrated proficiency in numeracy. The majority of children in Nigeria struggle with reading comprehension and basic math, resulting in delayed enrollment in primary school and subpar educational achievements during their early years.

Related Article: NITDA to review ICT service providers rules

According to reports, Nigeria’s educational challenges are hindering progress both within the country and on a global scale. Only 73 percent of Nigerian youth are literate, with only seven percent possessing the essential ICT skills required for success in today’s digital age. Shockingly, over half of Nigeria’s 200 million-plus population lack the necessary digital skills to access data services, as cited in the 2021 World Bank Development report. The report revealed that although the country has a national data infrastructure that is on par with other countries, there is still a significant disparity in data utilization due to ongoing demand-related obstacles.


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