Statement on Literacy and Reading For International Literacy Day by The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity)
“The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation… steadily but surely introducing education that enables our children to exploit their similarities and common goals, while appreciating the strength in their diversity”.
- Address by President Nelson Mandela at the Africa Presidential and Premier Education Awards, 22 November 1997.
As the world commemorates the International Literacy Day 2020, it remains pertinent to bring attention to the dearth of opportunities for many in Nigeria to achieve the basic levels of reading and writing, which has been made worse by the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19.
People with no or low literacy skills, who already face multiple socio-economic disadvantages in their day-today lives, have also had limited access to online learning opportunities to continue their education. The COVID-19 crisis has shed light on the unpreparedness of infrastructure, education systems, programs, and people for ensuring the continuity of teaching and learning in such a situation. But this is not only due to the pandemic crisis but an endemic and progressive challenge over successive administrations.
Not even the plans drawn up to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have successfully and effectively delivered the SDGs to low literate persons unless action is taken.
The Government had acknowledged in its National Policy on Education, that education in Nigeria is an instrument "par excellence" for effecting national development. However, over the years, the gap between educational policies and goal attainment due to inefficient implementation strategies and tactics of these policies has continued to fail the nation and its citizens.
The National Association of Seadogs – Pyrates Confraternity strongly believes that education is the right of the child and it is the responsibility of Government, the Private Sector, Non-Governmental Orgainisations and citizens to ensure every child receives the education they deserve by right to achieve the academic and vocational goals necessary in making sure our students have access to a well-rounded education that must include exposure to a variety of classes, from humanities, computer skills and reading to science and mathematics.
For this reason we call on the Federal Government of Nigeria, state and local governments, the private sector, international agencies, NGOs and all Citizens to:
- Support coherent and appropriately resourced national comprehensive literacy strategies including harnessing technology to teach computer skills;
- Ensure every child/student has access to books and literacy programmes whether printed or digital by 2030 by making access to online platforms central to school academic deliveries; resourcing libraries as well as making libraries, publishers and authors central to these strategies and ensuring no child/student is left behind;
- Support, defend and promote intellectual freedom as defined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Cut our schools’ digital divide in half, especially for many in low income communities, can access higher speed internet and the modern learning and experiential tools the infrastructure provides.
- Ensure that quality education is not a privilege for a few
- Place at the center of this progress, the teachers and allied staff by reviewing every element of the Nation’s education system including assessments standards, training, support, and reward for teachers to strengthen Nigeria’s effort to improve the teaching profession and ultimately the quality of education and academic achievements.