Akin Akande, Abuja
The Chairman House Committee on Education, Honourable Aminu Suleiman has reiterated the place and importance of non-formal education and mass literacy in the country, saying that the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education (NMEC) deserves to continue as an entity even as federal government is planning to scrap about 320 agencies and parastatals.
Nigeria currently has over 40 million population of illiterate citizens and is also a member of the E9 countries who have the highest illiterate population in the world.
Honourable Suleiman who noted that 4million Nigerians educated by the Commission between 2008 and 2011 through its mass literacy program is a monumental achievement which if consolidated upon would help the nation tackle the problem of illiteracy.
He stated this in Abuja at the weekend when he was on a familiarization visit to the headquarters of the Commission at Garki 2.
The Chairman House Committee on Education who recently took over the position from Honourable Farouk Lawan stressed that the 4million Nigerians educated by the Commission is a strong base for argument to spare the Commission from either merging or an out right scrapping by the federal government.
While remarking that some of the agencies to be merged or scrapped were established by past governments for political needs, he said that President Goodluck Jonathan is still consulting on the desirability or otherwise of the exercise.
He added that the affected agencies and commissions as well as parastatals were created by Acts of the Parliament, hence their merger or scrapping would still be subjected to the ratification of the parliament.
His words: I have taken note of some of the critical concerns you raised. You deserve an applause for the 4million Nigerians you have educated since 2008. Try to provide a very practical detail report, step-by-step, if possible local government by local government, areas that you have covered.
It is a monumental achievement for you to put up a very strong argument and for us that will argue on your behalf.
I’m sure you share our concerns that if some agencies must go of course there are some duplications but there are some that are very important because of their national imperative. We cannot do without non-formal and mass literacy because of educational problems”.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of NMEC, Alhaji Jibrin Paiko disclosed that the Commission, apart from the 4million Nigerians educated between 2008 and 2012 is compiling the list of those educated in the current year.
He told the Chairman of the Committee that raising mass adult literacy requires the mobilisation of enormous efforts and resources.
Alhaji Paiko who said the main challenge before the commission remains inadequate funding, noted that there is a need for more ample funds, more trained facilitators and better learning materials.
“This is the only way we can link literacy to livelihood, skills acquisition, record keeping and other practical aspects of life” he said.