Monday 16 September 2013

$6.4 million UNESCO MoU not enough to stop Nigeria’s declining literacy

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, opening the Multi-Sectoral Regional Office in Abuja during a launch ceremony attended by the Minister of Education, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, senior Government officials from UNESCO Line Ministries, sister UN agencies and the ECOWAS Commission.

At a time when less endowed nation like Namibia has been rewarded for improving its literacy level, Nigeria, a supposedly ‘giant’ seems to be waking up from its slumber towards elevating her literacy programmes to meet the required standard.

In fact, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) said to worth $6.4 million reached with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), seems not enough to improve Nigeria’s literacy level. Few days ago, Nigeria’s Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo was said to have disclosed the MoU at the State House in Abuja when he received UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova. Sanbo said the MoU, which was part of the benefits Nigeria gained from Bokova’s tenure as D-G was “self-benefiting funds-in-trust for the revitalisation of adult and youth literacy”.

For using its literacy programme Lifelong Learning Division to empower over 500, 000 adults and educational disadvantaged youths, Namibia was last week awarded with a UNESCO Literary Meanwhile, a recent UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literary 2013.

 Recent report listed Nigeria among the countries that have the highest number of out-of-schools children and higher rate of adult illiteracy. Elsewhere, Namibia has just been rewarded by UNESCO for improving its literacy level.

Sambo further listed other benefits from Bokova-led UNESCO as the establishment of the Regional Centre for Integrated River Basin Management (RE-IRBM) at the National Water Resources Institute in Kaduna; the International Centre for Biotechnology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; election of Nigeria into UNESCO Executive Board and International Bureau of Education; and the selection of Abuja as one of the five new UNESCO multi-sectoral regional offices in Africa.

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