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Rashid Aderinoye, a professor of Literacy and Open Distance Learning at the University of Ibadan, has urged aspirants in the 2019 presidential election to make literacy a cardinal campaign programme.

The don also recommended that the years 2021 to 2025 be declared as “Campaign to free Nigeria of illiteracy.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Aderinoye spoke on Thursday while delivering an inaugural lecture at the university entitled: “Literacy and Sustainable National Development: A Tripod of Intervention.”

According to him, Nigeria being one of the nine most populous nations could only overcome its illiteracy problem if greater attention is paid to distance education as a national strategy.

He said literacy and adult education had been much neglected at the expense of the formal education system.

“Mr Vice Chancellor sir, it is a serious catastrophe, that 72 years after the very first literacy initiative in Nigeria, about 75 per cent to 80 per cent of the Nigerian populace are still regarded as illiterates.

“Also, the World Bank group report for 2018 specifically stated that only 20 per cent of young Nigerian adults who have completed primary education can read.

”This should get us thinking in its implications for building a knowledge-based economy,’’ he said .

Aderinoye said literacy for individuals and families boosts human capital, improves economic opportunities, promotes health and expands the ability to make effective choices.

He advocated the need for media support for the delivery of literacy and adult education programmes.

“Some countries such as Cuba, Niger, Togo and Tanzania painstakingly canvassed for the inclusion of radio, television and other print materials for delivering of literacy and other adults education programmes,’’ he said.

The don, who was a former Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Nomadic Education, said with the support of the African Development Bank, more than 200 nomads were made functional neo-literates.

“The people were trained in beekeeping, shea-butter production and fashion design under the functional literacy programmes of the commission.

“If this effort is sustained Nigeria will be a leading producer of honey as well as shea-butter oil, ” he said.

Aderinoye also canvassed for a university each from six geo-political zones to be adopted as literacy research and documentation centre to develop the needful for the free Nigeria of illiteracy campaign.

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