News / Africa

Northern Nigeria Launches Massive Literacy Campaign

Facilitator Hasiya Mohammed presents geography lessons at City Women's Center in Kano. (Photo Credit: Isiyaku Ahmed)
Facilitator Hasiya Mohammed presents geography lessons at City Women's Center in Kano. (Photo Credit: Isiyaku Ahmed)
Isiyaku Ahmed
Nigeria has one of the world’s highest rates of illiteracy but the Kano State Agency for Mass Education in the north is making major strides to teach more than 400,000 adults and youth who are not in school how to read and write.
 
They face a major challenge, according to statistics reported in Abuja last September by Minister of State for Education Nyesom Wike. The education minister described two major challenges for the Nigerian effort: the number of illiterate Nigerian adults has increased by 10 million over the past two decades, to reach 35 million; the nation also has more than 10 million children who are not in school. The nation's population is an estimated 174 million.

Kano’s state agency for mass education, in coordination with UNESCO's global Education for All (EFA) project, has increased its mass literacy drive with over 8,074 adult literacy classes in 484 electoral wards in 44 local government councils.
 
Some 403,700 people are expected to benefit from the effort to attain 90 percent adult literacy level by 2015 in line with Millennium Development Goals.
 
The adult literacy drive is not just to enable people to read and write but also to create jobs and improve the socio-economic power and living standards of Kano people.
 
The agency has recruited 16,000 facilitators to teach and train students in order to extend its reach to all of the 44 local government councils of the state.
 
Target is young and adult women

Kano City Women Center is one of many learning centers for young and adult women. It serves 965 students including divorcées, married women and young people at its school and 145 more women at the vocational center.
 
The school section teaches English, mathematics, geography, biology, chemistry, economics, and other subjects. At the vocational center, women are trained to make air fresheners, shampoos, pomade and learn how to knit and sew, and make soap.
 
Classes are conducted in the morning and afternoon.
 
Halima Aminu is 25 years old and a mother of three children. She dropped out of school for a lack of financial support. Today, she is in her final year at the senior secondary-school level and hopes to graduate with the best of grades. 
 
“I started attending this school in 2010,” said Aminu. “I am in senior secondary school - SS 3. When I come to school in the morning I will enter my class, when I finish learning - that is, taking lectures- then I will go back home.
 
“I have children, I will teach them and help them to do their homework and take my books to revise.”
 
Aminu hopes to continue her education at tertiary level and someday become a medical doctor.
 
Hasiya Mohammed Adamu is a facilitator at the City Women Center in Kano. She has been teaching senior-secondary section geography, mathematics and English in the school for the last five years.
 
Families present a challenge for students

“There are a lot of challenges but if you are with them and familiar with their behavior, it is very simple to relate with them,” said the facilitator. “The most difficult aspect is their emotional setting. You know, they are adults and have personal problems which most of the time affect them.”
 
Mohammed said the adults at the center are enthusiastic about education. They exhibit a high level of etiquette and are attentive in class.
 
She says sometimes they skip class because they feel reluctant to come to school. If this happens, facilitators visit them at their homes to encourage them to continue with their education. Most of them are married with children who present family problems for the students.
 
Literacy is a major economic issue, says Professor Fatima Umar, the executive secretary of the Kano State Agency for Mass Education.
 
“The most noticeable cause of illiteracy is poverty,” says Professor Umar. “Poverty … is the root cause of delinquent behavior, especially in youths and adults. Apart from that, there is also the societal and governmental aspect.”
 
And government must play a central role in solving illiteracy problem, according to Umar. When government does not commit efforts and resources to tackle illiteracy, you would have widespread of illiteracy in the society.
 
Reading become an economic issue

She says 2011 records from the National Bureau of Statistics, the National Population Commission and the independent National Electoral Commission revealed that about 28.6 percent of youth and adults are illiterates.
 
She also says past efforts aimed at mass literacy yielded some achievements. The agency for mass education maintained the position of pacesetter for all agencies of mass education in Nigeria with the largest adult education program. It also won the UNESCO international merit literacy award in 1983 and 1990.
 
After that, the work of the agency just declined in productivity partly because of government nonchalant attitude or lack of commitment. So many things went wrong and the agency became not so productive.”
 
Professor Umar says when she assumed office at the agency for mass education two years ago, the agency renovated their own offices and the women’s centers, designed new programs.  
 
As you know, education in itself - or literacy - is empowerment,” Umar said. “It gives you power.”
 
The mass education initiative has established systems to evaluate the learning model, the quality of the instruction and the success of the students.

However, Umar says one of the successes of the agency is the increased public awareness of the value of literacy. As a result, their facilities are crowded.
 
Education experts say if the government maintains the political will to teach more Nigerians to read amd write, the target of achieving education for all by 2015 may be achieved in Kano.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid