By Ebriku John Friday
The federal government has announced a new strategy in the war to eliminate illiteracy and its accompanying malaise among the more than 90-million adult population and the about 13 million out of school children in the country.
Unveiling the new strategy called Literacy enroute Economic Empowerment Strategy (LEEDS) at a one-day Strategic Management Meeting in Mararaba, Nasarawa State today (Tuesday), the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Formal Education, Prof. Simon Ibor Akpama, said the new strategy will emphasise a juxtaposition of the acquisition of basic and post-literacy skills with vocational skills acquisition for the attainment of economic self-reliance.
The new system, according to Prof. Akpama, will be in addition to existing strategies, namely the Literacy-by-Radio (LBR), the Rural Facilitators’ Scheme (RFS), Each-One-Teach-One and other initiatives all aimed at facilitating the attainment of the Commission’s mandate of eradicating illiteracy among Nigerians aged 15 years and above.
The Executive Secretary said the strategic meeting was a ‘deliberate introspective innovation aimed at rejigging, resuscitating, reforming and repositioning the Commission’s extant management style for maximum productivity in synchronization with the Commission’s ‘sacred illiteracy eradication mandate for overall national development’.
In the words of the Executive Secretary, ‘The introduction of LEEDS is not intended to undermine and emasculate the existing illiteracy eradication methods which have made remarkable impact on the Commission’s literacy delivery trajectory but to integrate the Commission’s major goals, policy thrust, actions and its extant literacy delivery methods into a cohesive whole for improved performance in our service delivery drive’.
When functional, LEEDS will offer graduates from both the basic and post-literacy programmes to be provided with relevant kits and starter packs to establish their own businesses such as salons, fashion designing shops and the like which will in turn lead to reduction in unemployment and increase in income generation.
The Executive Secretary, while commending President Muhammadu Buhari and Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, for funding of the Adult and Non-Formal education sector, stated that LEEDS will form the antidote to poverty as it has been empirically proven that mere acquisition of basic and post-literacy skills devoid of economic empowerment tools aggravates poverty with its accompanying deleterious socio-economic consequences.
‘Our strategic plan must encapsulate the stated imperatives of the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education and unambiguously outline and reassess our preferred routes meant to accomplish the arduous task of illiteracy eradication which constitutes the synopsis of our mission and vision’, Prof. Akpama stated, while calling on the management team to align their capacities, competencies and wealth of experience to ensure the success of the LEEDS strategy.
It can be recalled that the federal government recently unveiled a plan to educate about two million non-literate Nigerians annually to enable them uplift their status and contribute to national development.
The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education was established by Act 17 of June 25, 1990, with a mandate to, among others things, provide basic education to the country’s non-literate adults and youths aged 15 and above through a non-formal approach.