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The laudable achievements of the Commission commendably culminated in reducing illiteracy rate from 38% to 31% during Professor Akpama, Simon Ibor’s tenure.


The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non - Formal Education (NMEC) was established by Decree N0.17 of June 26, 1990 (now Act N0. 18 2004). The Commission began to function on July 5, 1991 when its governing board was inaugurated in Lagos.

The Vision of the Commission is: to eradicate illiteracy and provide Non – Formal and Continue Education within the context of Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development. The Commission’s Mission on the other hand is to develop and sustain mass education for an enduring learning society as a critical leaver for self-reliance and national development.

However, today, the commission has its headquarters at Abuja, apart from its zonal offices in Bauchi, Benin City, Ibadan, Katsina, Minna, and Owerri through which it reaches out to the State Agencies for Mass Education (SAMEs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Besides, the Commission has State Offices in Uyo, Minna, Jigawa, Yobe, Lokoja, and Kaduna. These are established with a view to enhancing the delivery of mass literacy at the States level. There is also under the commission, a Centre for Adult Education located in Kano which serves as a documentation Centre.  This is often referred to as “Kano Centre”. Also, there is the Minna Resource Centre as well as the Centre for Entrepreneurship respectively located in Minna.

NMEC unique catch-phrase:” each- one- teach- one” or “fund the teaching of one” is simply a strategy of one- on- one contact for the purpose of providing literacy to those who cannot read or write and this is the catch phrase being deployed to reduce the alarming rate of illiteracy in Nigeria to the barest minimum. Indeed NMEC is charged with the responsibility of making literate those who for one reason or the other did not or cannot benefit from the formal school system. These includes out of school youths, children on the streets, women in purdah, victims of teenage motherhood, nomadic illiterates, almajiris and migrant fishing communities, traditional Quranic school children, market women and men, physically challenged, illiterate drivers,  commercial motorcyclists (Achaba/Okada), illiterate inmates in Correctional Centre or ex- inmates in need of rehabilitative education. The beneficiaries are groomed to be able to use the literacy skills acquired in their daily socio-economic activities.

The provision of literacy programmes that suit the economic, cultural, social and political needs of the illiterates (youths and adults), is central to the mandate of the commission.

In continuation of government’s sustained efforts to further strengthened effective service delivery in Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education, President Muhammadu Buhari  had in September 2021 appointed Professor Akpama as the Executive Secretary  cum Chief Executive  Officer (CEO) responsible for the overall administration and management  of NMEC.

NMECs stride under Prof. Akpama Simon Ibor’s leadership is second to none. As a seasoned academia, Professor Akpama has effectively co-ordinated the activities of NMEC. In October 2021, NMEC flagged off a nation - wide Rural Facilitators Scheme (RFS). During the flagging off of the scheme in Owerri, Imo State, the Executive Secretary of the commission said that the Federal Government’s plan is to use the scheme to educate about two million non-literate Nigerians annually to enable  them uplift  their status and contribute to the national development. He also pointed out that irrespective of inadequate infrastructure and paucity of fund, the immediate target is to make a little over 11,340 learners literate within seven months. According to him it is also part of NMEC’s efforts to tackle all impediments militating Nigeria’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG - 4) of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

In August this year, the Adult and Non-Formal Education sub - sector in Nigeria received a further boost when the Federal Government commissioned a multi-purpose state – of - the - art hall in Kano. The Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by the Ministry’s Director for Basic Education Dr. (Mrs.) Folake Davis, while declaring the hall open, expressed the government readiness to tackle the menaces of high number of out- of - school- children, and illiterate youth and adult population in the country.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Akpama said the hall located at the National Centre for Kano Adult Education Centre was a step in the Commission’s determination to deliver quality literacy services in Nigeria. According to him, the facilities in the hall are targeted at enhancing productive brainstorming session meant to address the myriad of large group meetings while simultaneously providing an enabling ambience for educational and breakout activities. He listed other facilities in the Centre which was built by the Commission to include a block of classrooms, solar street light, warehouse, 12 and 23 bedded hotels, vocational hall for soft and heavy skills, crèche and play area.

Speaking further, he reiterated that the Commission had come up with an answer to those learners who ask what they stand to benefit after attaining literacy, as the Commission has introduced a new initiative known as Literacy Through Economic Empowerment Strategy (LEES) which was modelled after President Buhari’s National Poverty Eradication with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) with the main objective to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

Still speaking Prof. Akpama said the newly introduced LEES include 37 graduands of the Basic Literacy programme in Kano, Edo State, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while an additional 50 youths in Ahoada West/Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Federal Constituency of Rivers State were empowered in June 2022, with agro business starter kits, including fingerlings and relevant fishing facilities have benefited from the initiative.

The Commission through Direct Support to the 36 States and FCT on Rural Facilitators Scheme has made about 11,000 literate through its flagship program which involves recruitment of three ad-hoc facilitators in each Senatorial District in Nigeria and empowerment of 377 facilitators across the 36 States and the FCT by paying their N10,000 monthly stipends. In addition, over 3,000 learners were made literate in English language through the use of Radio in the realization of this feat. NMEC supported 7 States with the provisions of 2,100 radio sets including pre-recorded lessons on memory cards while efforts was also made to produce the 39 lessons on CD according to each of the state’s peculiarities.

To ensure availability of quality teaching and learning materials in all the states, the Commission produced and distributed 3,500 Numeracy and Literacy Facilitators’ Guide. It also procured 200 units of chalk/magnetic board along with the duster and markers which were distributed to all the states of the federation. To promote functional literacy skills, the commission procured vocational and skill acquisition materials in the areas of Cosmetology and Beauty Therapy, Home Economics and Fashion Design to support the state vocational training centres.

These laudable achievements of the Commission commendably culminated in reducing illiteracy rate from 38% to 31% during Professor Akpama, Simon Ibor’s tenure.