As the world celebrates World Literacy Day, latest data from the Ministry of Education has revealed that 70 million Nigerians, about 30 per cent of the country’s population, are still illiterate – unable to read and write.
This is despite claims by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration that the government had increased enrolment through the school feeding programme.
In the 2019 budget, Nigeria earmarked N462.2bn only for education, falling 15 per cent to the 20 per cent minimum recommendation for developing countries by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
Compared with the 2017 budget for education, which was N398bn, the N620.5bn for education this year might be seen as a remarkable increase but some stakeholders said it was still meagre.
The statistics from the Ministry of Education also revealed that females account for nearly 60 per cent of Nigeria’s illiterate population.
Despite several initiatives by the government, Nigeria still battles with low literacy levels fuelled by poverty, traditional and religious barriers as well as lack of political will to resolve the problem.