SECTION ONE INTRODUCTION Data at the disposal of NMEC shows that Nigeria has an adult literacy rate of 62% (2013 estimates), based on national population estimate of 165 million people. The implication is that the country has an adult illiteracy rate of 38%, representing about 62 million Nigerians. A UNICEF survey published in 2013 also estimated that Nigeria has over 11.3 million outof-school children (10 per cent of the global total and the largest number in any single country). Similarly, over three million nomadic school-aged children have no access to any form of schooling. The 2010 ministerial report on Madarasat education shows that some 9.5 million of the concerned children have no access to basic education. These are in fact the factors that put Nigeria in the E-9 Group of Countries--the nine most highly populated countries in the world that represent more than 53 per cent of the world’s illiterate population with over two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults and over half of the world’s out-of-school children. The problems are further complicated by regional, gender related and socio economic disparities in access to education. The country is also facing serious challenges of poor levels of retention, low completion rates and drop-out at various points in the educational cycle. Developed through a fully participatory process, this Policy Guidelines is an attempt to harmonize the provisions of earlier policy drafts and other statutory documents. These include: the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) as it relates to adult literacy; the National Policy on Education 2013, which also stresses the elimination of mass illiteracy within the shortest possible time; the provisions of Decree 17 of 25 June 1990 establishing the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education, the 2008 NMEC “National Blueprint for Adult and Non-formal Education in Nigeria”; the “National NFE Policy Benchmark for Integrating Basic Education into the Qur’anic Schools system in Nigeria”; “National Communication Strategies for Integration of Basic Education into Qur’anic Schools”; the 2008 National Report on The Development and State-of-the-Art of Adult Learning and Education, presented at the 6th International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI); and the UNICEF-supported NMEC report “Non-formal Education in Nigeria: Policy Issues and Practice” of 2010. This Policy is placed in the overall context of National Policy on Education (2013) that recognizes Non-Formal Education as a complementary pathway to reaching the hitherto unreached millions of Nigeria’s youth who are missing out on education in the formal subsector, as well as adults and youth who never attended school. The formal school system still lacks the capacity to absorb all children of school-going age while adult literacy rate is still relatively low. The Policy is also intended to address issues not fully addressed by Nigeria during the MDG (Millennium Development Goals) years and to contribute to Nigeria’s concerted efforts to attain the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) in determination of attaining equitable and quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030. In summary, this Policy Guidelines shall provide the much-needed driving force for a harmonious pursuit of NMEC’s Vision of eradicating illiteracy towards achieving national development and its mission of developing benchmarks and strategies aimed at eradicating illiteracy in Nigeria, monitoring and standardizing implementation of Mass Literacy delivery in Nigeria, networking with local and international stakeholders and producing neo-literates who are self-reliant through skill acquisition and functional literacy. This document is essentially intended as a coherent compendium on issues and challenges of Out-of-School Education in Nigeria, highlighting field-responsive strategies, the implementation of which should contribute to placing Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education in the front burner of the Nation’s educational development endeavours.
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