By Stanley Onyekwere
A total of 14, 066 learners were enrolled, out of which 9, 459 made up of 7, 226 females and 2, 233 males were made literate in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) within the last twelve months.
According to Secretary for Education Secretariat in FCTA, Dr Bala Mohammed Liman, who made the disclosure, the much higher number of female enrollees speaks volumes about the results of the deliberate efforts to get women educated and therefore empower them.
Liman while speaking during the end of the year media briefing and send off for retired directors of the Secretariat, noted that the Department of Mass Education has over the years fulfilled its mandate of adult and non-formal education available to those who did not have the opportunity of going to school the traditional way.
He revealed that part from the regular adult learning centres, the secretariat also introduced the “ literacy by radio programme “ where applicants were tutored by radio.
According to him, the initiative was designed specifically to target the hard-to-reach communities whose members do not have the means to access any of the 441 regular learning centres located across the Territory.
He added that about 900 adult learners who completed the literacy by radio programme have been certified as literate.
He further explained that the programme which was said to have been supervised the National Mass Education Commission (NMEC) also gave the learners the opportunity of getting 180 radios, 192 cell phones to enhance their learning processes.
The Secretary stressed that basic education is an essential prerequisite to navigate the 21th century with as little challenges as possible, pointing out that lack of education could make simple everyday tasks such as the use of the mobile phone or Automated Teller Machine (ATM) a daunting task indeed.
He however, noted that one of the challenges the secretariat has had over the years in the quest to providing quality and affordable education to both formal and informal learners within the territory was the ever growing population of residents and education seekers.
“Our most obvious challenge of course is the ever increasing number of people requiring educational services in the FCT. The number is increasing much faster than we are able to provide infrastructure and facilities.
“Many of the challenges we face relate to funding and there is an urgent need for sustainable funding for the sector. On our part, we are closely studying several options and proposals to best tackle this challenges and our recommended solutions will be made public in due course.
“We also have the challenge of unavailabilty of designated land for schools as well as security threats to some schools due to lack of perimeter fence, this is also inadvertently leads to encroachment of school lands by individual and private developers and resultant clashes and litigation,” he added.