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2024 budget: CSO says excluding NMEC will jeopardise literacy hopes of out-of-school children

Civil Society Coalition for Transparency and Good Governance has urged President Bola Tinubu not to withdraw budgetary allocation from National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC)

The Convener, Mr Victor Udo who made the call at the news conference in Abuja on Friday, said that NMEC has a mandate of eliminating illiteracy in the country.

He recalled that the Federal Government in July, 2023, announced its approval for the discontinuation of budgetary allocations to professional bodies and councils effective 2024.

He said that the government stated that the affected institutions would be regarded as self-funding and become fully responsible for their personnel, overhead and capital expenditures.

Udo said that as civil societies, they consider the initiative commendable but the inclusion of NMEC in that category is a mistake that should be revered.

He said that with the current number of out of school children in the country, no fewer than 62million Nigerians will be natively affected by the policy.

According to him, NMEC mandate of eliminating illiteracy in our country has to be achieved and when the opportunity to get education is missed as a child, the only option left is adult education.

The convener said that government should be seen promoting education and increasing funding for agencies like NMEC and not removing them from budgetary allocation.

“We hereby call on President Bola Tinubu to a matter of urgency and national importance to reverse the decision.

“We urged the President to direct the appropriate authorities like the Director General of the Budget Office, the Accountant General of the Federation, the Presidential Committee on Salaries, and other related agencies to sustain the continuation of the budgetary allocation to the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC),” he said.

Udo urged the Federal Government to consider improving the budgetary allocation to the said commission for effective service delivery to the nation.

He explained that NMEC employs the services of rural facilitators, primary school teachers on ad hoc basis, to teach literacy skills to learners in over 40,000 learning centres across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

According to him, the learners do not pay fees, in fact, NMEC provides them with the various materials in collaboration with State Agencies for Mass Education (SAMEs).

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The management of the Commission conducted an assessment visit to Correctional Security Centres in Yobe, Kaduna, Enugu, and Oyo State. This exercise spanned through the 30th November to the 15th of December, 2022.

The Management embarked on this visits with the aim to confirm and ascertain their level of participation in basic literacy, post literacy, continuing education and vocational education programmes as this is in line with its mandate of eradicating illiteracy in the country. No doubt, revitalizing the literacy learning facilities in Nigeria Correctional Centers will help in the rehabilitation, reformation and re-integration of prisoners back into the society.

Below are pictures of correctional facilities visited;


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO; an agency of the United Nations set aside September 8 of every year as International Literacy Day to draw global attention to the status of literacy especially adult learning as well as highlight the linkages between literacy and the development of individuals and nations. 

International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world since its inception in 1967. This is to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda toward a more literate and sustainable society. Despite recorded progress, literacy challenges persist with 771 million illiterate people worldwide, most of whom are women that still lack basic reading and writing skills and are faced with increased vulnerability.


Rapidly changing global context took a new meaning over the past years, hampering the progress of global literary efforts. In the aftermath of the pandemic, nearly 24 million learners might never return to formal education, out of which, 11 million are projected to be girls and young women. To ensure no one is left behind, there is a need to enrich and transform the existing learning spaces through an integrated approach and enable literacy learning from the perspective of lifelong learning.


In light of the above, the National Commission for Mass Literacy Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) organized its own International Literacy and Award Day giving on the 22nd of September 2022, with the worldwide theme, "Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces; Exploring Opportunities, Possibilities and Creativity”. In attendance were several dignitaries from the Federal Ministry of Education (FME), UNESCO, UBEC, Directors from the 36 State Agency for Mass Education, among others

The objectives of the event among others were to:

1.     Sensitize and mobilize policy-makers and stakeholders on the scourge of illiteracy and its attendant consequences on national development.

2.     Sensitize the masses on the empowering role of literacy.

3.     Appeal to Governments, Development Partners, and NGOs to strengthen their commitment to literacy.

4.     Disseminate successful practices in the field of Non-Formal Education.

5.     Increase commitment and a call for all to partner for an effective social change through literacy.

6.     Synergize more with all Stakeholders involved in literacy delivery.


Following the establishment of the Commission in 1990 (Now Act No 18 of 2004), the Commission had initiated series of projects and programmes towards the advancement of Adult and Non-Formal Education in 36 States and FCT. Since 2016 NMEC initiated and commenced the NFE Rural Facilitators Scheme (RFS) by directly recruiting ad-hoc and competent facilitators, to demonstrate good practices and to support States and LGAs to live up to their statutory responsibility in the provision of adult literacy to the citizenry with enrolment of 20,050 learners. This laudable initiative (RFS) follows the attempt to provide equal educational opportunity to all citizens as well as response to SDG.4 initiatives that advocate for inclusive education.

Consequent upon the above giant steps in the development of RFS in Nigeria from 2016- 2021 fiscal years, the RFS Centres have been visited from time to time, showing the importance for follow up project monitoring in ascertaining the existence of the centres, assess the learning environment, enrolled learners and teaching learning process. This would also provide further add pep to the verification process before further payments to the RFS Facilitators are made. It also serves as well as feedback for management planning on the RFS scale up plan under the 2022 Appropriation.  

In ensuring quality assurance, accountability and value for money on the RFS Project, the first batch of the exercise was carried out at the South East, South South. North East and West Zones of the country.

Objective: The overall objective of the exercise was to execute effective monitoring and evaluation of the RFS centres ensuring teaching-learning process is indeed going on at the grass root.

·        Assess the learning environment

·        Provide feedback for Management in decision making on subsequent plan for RFS scale up

371 Adhoc facilitators were recruited during the year under review and this resulted in the making 11,130 learners literate.

Literacy through Economic Empowerment Strategy (LEES)

As part of its mandates, to eradicate or reduce illiteracy to its barest minimum within the shortest possible period, the Commission in recent past invested abundant time, renewed commitment and a great deal of human and material resources in the realization of a literate Nigerian especially where access to quality education and adequate self-sustenance can be guaranteed for every citizen.

 In the light of the above, and in response to the global question of “after literacy, what next?’; the Commission kick-started an initiative tagged “Literacy Through Economic Empowerment Strategy” (LEES). LEES is the project of the ES of the Commission, Prof. Akpama Simon Ibor. This is with a view to reinvent the dynamics of literacy delivery for out-of-school children, illiterate adults and unemployed youths in recent times, and evidently help to remove barriers to learning opportunities for out-of-school children, youths, drop-outs and non-literate people of all ages in accessing knowledge and life-skills.

In a bid to block the gaps in these initiatives and further improve its impact on the progress of learners in literacy acquisition, the Commission organized a strategic meeting tagged; “A One-Day National Strategic Stakeholders Meeting with Key-Stakeholders towards the Review of Adult & Non-Formal Education (NFE) programs; its implementation, way-forward & challenges”, at De Mandoli Hotel, Auta Balefi, Nasarawa State between May 6th – 8th, 2022. The event was also an opportunity to flag-off the “Literacy Through Economic Empowerment Strategy (LEES)”; a brain-child of the Commission that sought to empower learners with skill-acquisition materials that will help sustain their livelihoods even after they have graduated from their vocational classes.


Participants at the event include the representative of the Honorable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu ably represented by Mrs. Joy Onoja, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC), Professor Akpama Simon Ibor.  Also in attendance were the Executive Directors of States Agency for Adult and Non-Formal Education, representative of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Nigerian National Council for Adult Education (NNCAE), Non-Governmental Association for Literacy and Support Service (NOGALSS), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). NMEC Management team, Zonal Coordinators from the Six (6) Geo-Political Zones, State Officers and other critical stakeholders.