The Civil Society Coalition for Transparency and Good Governance has kicked against plans by the Federal Government to defund adult and mass literacy education in the country.
It’s convener, Comrade Victor Udo, at a briefing in Abuja on Friday, said discontinuing funding of adult and mass literacy education in the country would have a negative effect on the country in terms of addressing illiteracy.
It commended the decision to defund professional bodies and revenue-generating councils, but worried about the inclusion of agencies with a mandate to provide mass literacy, adult and non-formal education on the list of agencies to be defunded from 2024.
The coalition appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to as a matter of urgency and national importance, direct the appropriate authorities to sustain the continuation of the budgetary provision or allocation to all non-revenue generating agencies and commissions established by an act of parliament.
Udo said, “Recently, the Federal Government announced its approval for the discontinuation of budgetary allocations to professional bodies and councils effective 2024. The government’s position was made public by the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze.
“In letters issued to heads of affected organizations and institutions from the Office of the Director General dated 26th June 2023 and titled, “Discontinuation of Funding of Professional Bodies and Councils from 2024 Budget in line With Decisions of the Presidential Committee on Salaries (PCS)”, the government said effective from the said date, the affected institutions would be regarded as self-funding and become fully responsible for their personnel, overhead and capital expenditures.
“While applauding the federal government for its decision to defund professional bodies and revenue generating councils, the coalition of Civil Society Organizations is shocked and worried at the inclusion of agencies with a mandate to provide mass literacy, adult and non-formal education on the list of agencies to be defunded from 2024.
We consider it as a mistake of immense proportions as the rest of the world is devoting even more funds to eradicate illiteracy and its concomitant effect from their societies.
“With the high number of illiterate adult population in Nigeria, it is an anti-people policy for the federal government to defund any commission which performs one of the most important mandates among government institutions vis a vis eradicating illiteracy in our country. One such agencies mistakenly included in the list is the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC).
“Listed among the over 25 affected institutions is a body referred to as the National Literacy Council which is actually non-existent. The body established by law to oversee the affairs of mass literacy in Nigeria is called the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) established by Decree No. 17 of 25th June 1990 now Act 18 of 2004 with the mandate of eradicating illiteracy in Nigeria within the shortest possible time.
“The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) is currently funded largely through subventions from the federal government which is grossly inadequate to meet the requirements of adult and non-formal education in Nigeria. To mitigate this inadequacy, the National Council on Education (NCE) in 2017 recommended that the federal government should “without prejudice to other sub sectors of the economy, allocate at least 2 percent of its consolidated revenue to the sector. Unfortunately, this has not been complied with.”
2023 The Nation Newspaper, Ltd. All Right Reserved.