The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has revealed that over 750 million young and adults worldwide cannot read and write with Nigeria ranking high among countries home to these illiterates.
Statistics obtained from the National Commission for Mass Literacy and Adult Education (NMEC), also confirmed that over 60 million Nigerians, representing 30 per cent of the population are illiterates.
Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, whose message was read at the event marking 2018 International Literacy Day on Friday in Abuja, called on stakeholders and world leaders to mobilize so that the idea of a fully literate global society becomes a reality.
She said: “Today, worldwide, more than 260 million children and adolescents are not enrolled in school; six out of ten children and adolescents- around 617 million- do not acquire minimum skills in literacy and numeracy.
“750 million young people and adults still cannot read and write, among them, two-thirds are women.
“These seriously debilitating shortcomings lead to a de facto exclusion from society and perpetuated a spiral of social inequalities and gender inequalities,” she said.
Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah, lamented that in spite of efforts being made by the government to address the challenge, Nigeria is still home to high number of illiterate population.
He said: “In our country today, we still have the challenge of huge number of people who cannot read and write.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Sonny Echono, said the theme of the celebration, which is Skills and Development was apt as it relates to the theme chosen at the end of the 63rd National Council on Education (NCE), tagged “Education for Self-Reliance: A tool for the achievement of the education 2030 Agenda.”
He noted that it was only a literate society that could be free from corruption, crimes, insecurity, serious health challenges and would have solution to all forms of vices.