The traditional definition of literacy is the ability to read and write, listen and speak and enumerate. However, in the modern context literacy involves the ability to use and communicate in a diverse range of technologies. In general terms, literacy is a condition whereby one can successfully function at certain levels in a society where literacy plays a role in providing access to power.
With a population of over one hundred and forty million people (NPC 2006), One third of Nigeria population are young people between the age of 10 -19 years and she has illiteracy rate of 25.6% adult males and 40% adult females.
In some part of the country especially the Northern part, educational opportunities for young people are unequally distributed particularly for girls. Girls are discriminated against in school enrolment for socio and economic reasons. The gender gap in literacy however decreases from older to younger women. Young people aged 15-19 have literacy rates of 79 percent for boys and 61 percent for women compared with older adults aged 45-49 with literacy rates at 60 percent for men and 22 percent for women. Rural women are even more disadvantaged than their urban counterparts.
As we celebrate the International Literacy Day with the theme “Literacy and Sustainable Development”, education is vital to poverty reduction and nation building. Literacy is one of the key elements needed to promote sustainable development, as it empowers people so that they can make the right decisions in the areas of economic growth, social development and environmental integration. Literacy is a basis for lifelong learning and plays a crucial foundational role in the creation of sustainable, prosperous and peaceful societies.
In conclusion, literacy skills developed from a basic to advanced level throughout life are part of broader competencies required for critical thinking, the sense of responsibility, participatory governance, sustainable consumption and lifestyles, ecological behaviours, biodiversity protection, poverty reduction, and disaster risk reduction.
Lets support education! Lets create a sustainable society!
Literacy is a key lever of change and a practical tool of empowerment on each of the three main pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection.- Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan