As the indefinite strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) continues, the Federal Government of Nigeria has insisted that only it cannot be the only one funding the country’s education sector. The FG called on stakeholders to contribute their quota to achieve proper funding for education. Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah, made the statement on September 8, 2022, in Abuja. He said that there is nowhere in the world that education is free because of the cost implication of providing education to the citizenry.
The minister spoke at the commemoration of International Literacy Day 2022, which was celebrated with students of Knosk-N100-A-Day secondary school in the Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Opiah thanked the National Library of Nigeria for hosting the celebration in the school and he appreciated the proprietor of Knosk-N100-A-Day for the school initiative. At the same time, he called on people and entrepreneurs to partner with the government on funding education. He said, “Stakeholders must contribute to funding education: our investors, entrepreneurs, parents and the government; nowhere in the world is education free. Government is providing infrastructure, training and retraining teachers, taking a lot of innovative steps to improve the quality of learning in schools and also ensuring the safety of children in schools.”
International Literacy Day was founded by UNESCO.
International Literacy Day was founded by the proclamation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) via the World Conference of Education Ministers, which was held in Tehran on October 26, 1966. During the event, Professor Chinwe Veronica Anunobi, the National Librarian and Chief Executive Officer of the National Library of Nigeria, emphasized the importance of promoting literacy and improving the reading culture in the country. She also spoke about the choice of Knosk-N100-A-Day School to celebrate International Literacy Day.
She said, “At the National Library of Nigeria whose mandate includes promoting reading culture amongst Nigerians, we are doing our modest best promoting activities that excite and attract the non-literate population towards developing reading and writing skills. Our activities are not only targeted at young people of school age but also adults or those who think they are beyond the age of formal school education. To ensure inclusion, we promote reading and writing, not only in Western languages but also in our indigenous languages.”
Prof. Anunobi lauds the activities of the National Library of Nigeria.
She continues, “In some of our branches across the country, we have been holding literary activities targeted at traders, masons, artisans and such other vulnerable groups, who we believe will do better if they acquire literacy skills. We are open to collaboration with interested parties that are concerned about literacy in our society. I must single out the proprietors of Knosk-N100-A-Day School, Mr. Kingsley and Irene Bangwell, who did not only see the need but went ahead to set up this school, which has to prevent one or two children from growing up into adulthood without basic literacy skills and probably pass it to their offspring.
“This year’s International Literacy Day is celebrated with the theme, “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces.” It is aimed at stimulating a rethink about the fundamental importance of literacy learning spaces to build resilience and ensure quality, equitable and inclusive education for all. It is a call for concerned individuals and organizations to fold their sleeves and contribute their quota in reducing the high rate of non-literate persons in our society as we accommodate every stratum and native of the Nigerian population.”
Other dignitaries at the event also offer their comments.
Prof. Obiajulu Emejulu, the Executive Director of the National Institute for Nigerian Languages, said, “We at the institute, have chosen to focus our attention on a critical aspect of the theme, which is linguistic diversity in the learning spaces of children. This is because linguistic diversity in a literacy learning space is a powerful tool for national development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goal Number 4.” The President of Reading Association of Nigeria, Prof. Grateful Ofodu, also said, “A literacy learning space is anywhere and everywhere learning is fostered. Therefore, the following are literacy learning spaces: classrooms, homes, workplaces, churches, mosques, streets, etc. We should provide something for learners to read, write, speak about, view, and harness all our digital learning facilities like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram for the advancement of literacy.”