It’s been a major problem in Nigeria for some time now, but the federal government through the Ministry of Education is stepping in to try and improve the growing crisis. For instance, of the estimated 170 million people living in Nigeria, 75 million lack basic literacy skills. The good news is that progress is underway thanks in part to the launching of 780 adult education classes across the 36 states and in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.

Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, points to huge criminal and political difficulties for the high percentage of illiterate adults there. Some of these rising complications would include drug abuse, malpractice, cultism, communal clashes, terrorism and crimes like armed robbery, human trafficking, kidnapping, and juvenile delinquency.

The federal government of Nigeria is making a resilient effort by employing enough skilled facilitators to undertake the program and provide mass literacy to some 30 million Nigerians within three years. The ambitious plan also features ample materials for vocational skills and supplied equipment. Currently, there are 780 pilot literacy classes with 21 in each of the 36 states and 12 in the Federal Government colleges. There are also 13 community learning centers in the six geo-political zones and Abuja, according to the Executive Secretary of the Mass Literacy Commission, Prof. Abubakar Haladu.

The issue also affects school-age children, and unfortunately, the numbers tell the story. There are 10.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria; that reflects the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Adamu says efforts are underway to energetically boost the number of children entering school and to prevent students from dropping out.

The federal government believes that every Nigerian should be allowed to go to school regardless of background, ethnicity or gender.

Adamu is calling the huge literacy overhaul an achievable agenda that offers adult Nigerians education-friendly programs.

However, it will take more than the Nigerian federal government to solve the illiteracy crisis. Many believe that the country’s private sector needs to respond by helping education systems innovate and adopt blended learning. For example, the Kenya Adult Learners Association (KALA) and ProLiteracy have collaborated on a pilot plan of a digital literacy program. The plan uses e-reading tablets for adult learners to practice reading.