International
Literacy Day 2017: My Comment on The ASUU Strike

Annually, September 8th
which is the International Literacy Day is observed. This year’s International
Literacy Day is celebrated across the world under the theme – ‘Literacy in a digital world’. Today, a
global event will be organized at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris with the
overall aim to look at what kind of literacy skills people need to navigate
increasingly digitally-mediated societies and to explore effective literacy
policies and programmes that can leverage the opportunities that the digital
world provides.

At record speed, digital
technologies are fundamentally changing the way people live, work, learn and
socialise everywhere. They are giving new possibilities to people to improve
all areas of their lives including access to information; knowledge management;
networking; social services; industrial production and mode of work. However,
those who lack access to digital technologies and the knowledge, skills and
competencies required to navigate them, can end up marginalised in increasingly
digitally driven societies. Literacy is one of such essential skill. Just as
knowledge, skills and competencies evolve in the digital world, so does what it
means to be literate. To close the literacy skills gap and reduce inequalities,
this year’s International Literacy Day will highlight the challenges and
opportunities in promoting literacy in the digital world, a world where,
despite progress, at least 750 million adults and 264 million out-of-school
children still lack basic literacy skills. (Source: UNESCO’s Official Website)
September 8th was
proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. Its aim
is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and
societies. Every year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status
of literacy and adult learning globally. Celebrations take place around the
world. According to UNESCO’s “
Global
Monitoring Report on Education for All (2006)
”, South and West Asia has the
lowest regional adult literacy rate (58.6%), followed by sub-Saharan Africa
(59.7%), and the Arab States (62.7%). Countries with the lowest literacy rates
in the world are Burkina Faso (12.8%), Niger (14.4%) and Mali (19%). The report
shows a clear connection between illiteracy and countries in severe poverty,
and between illiteracy and prejudice against women. Literacy has been described
as the ability to read for knowledge and write coherently and think critically
about the written word. Literacy can also include the ability to understand all
forms of communication, be it body language, pictures, video or sound (reading,
speaking, listening and viewing). Evolving definitions of literacy often
include all the symbol systems relevant to a community. (Source: Wikipedia.com)


Interestingly, I have been
writing on the International Literacy Day observance consecutively for the past
three years, this is my third article on the same topic in three years. The
previous articles can be accessed on my blog – (https://sheffa.com.ng/2017/09/thedelivery-of-qualitative-quantitative.html)
and (https://shegzsablezs.blogspot.com.ng/2017/09/world-literary-day-challenges.html). In my previous article titled; “The
Delivery of Qualitative & Quantitative Education in Nigeria: Reading the
Past, Writing the Future”
, I noted that the Federal Government headed by
President Muhammadu Buhari has not achieved any significant success in the
educational sector since the inception of his administration. I also offered
advice on how the condemn-able situation of things in the sector can be improved
upon but I do not think anyone is listening to me. Excerpts; “One of the ways the decrepit state of
affairs can be a turned around for greater efficient and educational tourism
would be reduced significantly is to ensure that budgetary allocations are
improved. This is of utmost urgency because it would ensure the gradual
evolvement of infrastructure which is disappointingly dilapidated.  However, I also like to remind the government
at all levels that any positive change would only occur where there is
persistent follow-up to ensure that projects awarded are fully executed because
corruption is another problem that needs to be tackled in that sector for
another significant revolution to take place
”. (Oluwole Olusanya, 2016).

Most importantly, the latest
news in the educational sector in Nigeria is the ongoing ASUU strike which
started co-incidentally on my birthday – 14th August 2017. According
to a letter signed by the Union’s National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi,
the issues at stake included payment of fractions/non-payment of salaries;
non-payment of earned academic allowances, non-release of operational licence
of NUPENCO, retired professors and their salaries, university staff schools,
and funds for the revitalization of public universities. An interview with the
ASUU President – Prof. Ogunyemi explains in explicit terms the reasons behind
the unavoidable strike action. (Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/08/asuu-decides-strike-today/)

Conclusively,
Nigeria has one of the highest numbers
of out-of-school children in the world; we also have a large number of adult
illiterates. These disappointing facts are a clear revelation of the
non-chalant attitude of successive administrations and condemnable desert occasioned
by mal-administration. Perhaps, it is quite unfortunate that there has not been
any significant improvement in the educational sector in the past 12 months and
this is the main reason I decided to pen-down my disappointments and offer
advice to those in the positions of authority so that they can be reminded that
education is the bedrock of any society and it should be given adequate
attention for the country to move forward
” (The Delivery of Qualitative & Quantitative Education in Nigeria:
Reading the Past, Writing the Future –
Oluwole Olusanya, 2016).
God
Bless Us All
Olusanya,
Oluwole Sheriff
Oluwole Olusanya
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues. He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.