Mr. Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State, has decried the prevalence of obsolete teaching methods in institutions of learning in Nigeria, which he said, accounted in part, for the high figures of illiterate and poorly educated people as against the lower figures in other countries.
Obaseki said it was time for policy makers to change the approach to teaching and learning by prioritizing the use of Information and Communication Technology in bridging the wide gap. The governor made the recommendations as the world celebrates World Literacy Day, on Friday, September 8.
According to him,” the global event is an opportunity for policy makers in the education sector, parents and educationists to review the efforts at increasing the number of literate people in Nigeria,” the governor said.
“We cannot continue with the old teaching methods that failed to put us in the league of the most literate people in the world” he stressed, and explained that “the efforts of governments at various levels, to build and equip more schools, employ and train more teachers, encourage children to come to school through various initiatives like the School Feeding Programme of the federal government, would not yield the desired result if at the policy level, the use of ICT is not placed on the front burner.”
Obaseki said his administration’s ICT-driven educational policy, was in line with the theme of this year’s International Literacy Day: “Literacy in a Digital World” which seeks to determine the literacy skills that are needed by people, to navigate the increasingly digitally-mediated world and all the associated opportunities.
He said his administration has commenced work on the digitalisation of libraries in public schools, while the revamp of the Benin Technical College, which will have a Technology Park on completion, was ongoing.
“Edo University Iyamho is leveraging on the strength of Information and Communication Technology, while Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, and the College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi, are being repositioned to deliver modern manpower,” the governor said, and added that remodeling work was also ongoing in several primary and post primary schools across the state, to reset them to increase the literacy and numeracy levels in the state.
Obaseki further said that part of his administration’s plan was to ensure the state-owned media outfits – The Nigerian Observer and Edo Broadcasting Service (Radio and Television stations) – dedicate quality space and air time to educating the young and adults alike.
The 2015 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) survey revealed that 65 million of Nigerians are illiterates, which experts say could jeopardize government’s efforts at removing millions of Nigerians from poverty.
An earlier survey in 2010 conducted by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put the literacy level in Edo State at 45.8 per cent, with adult literacy rate at 56.9 per cent. The highest is Lagos at 92.0 per cent and the lowest, Borno State at 14.5 percent.