Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Geography of Illiteracy

This Day
8 June 2011

Distressing findings on literacy, numeracy and formal educational attainment among primary and secondary school-aged Nigerian children were presented on 16th May, 2011 in Abuja during the national launch of the Nigeria Digest of Education Statistics 2006-2010 and the 2010 Nigeria Education Data Survey (NEDS) Report witnessed by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.  The findings effectively constitute a scorecard on governance at the state level vis-a-vis the extent to which the life chances of the largest and most vulnerable segment of the populations in their jurisdictions (the under-17s) have been major preoccupations of the governors that have held office since 1999 across the country.

The 2010 NEDS, in particular, as a nationally representative sample survey of 26,934 households, 27,189 parents/ guardians, and 71,567 children age 4-16 was large enough to provide reliable estimates for indicators at state and national levels of children’s rates of school attendance, literacy and numeracy among primary school and junior secondary school-aged children, household expenditures for schooling, and parents/guardians’ perceptions of schooling.  It revealed a mixed picture of the state of participation and success in basic education by Nigerian children, with the negatives far outstripping the positives for Nigeria as a whole, and certain states in particular.

...even more worrying is what the survey reveals about how the ability of the Nigerian child to read or perform simple addition largely depends on where he or she is located.  Twenty-one per cent of children of ages 5-16 cannot read at all in the South-west compared to 31 per cent in the South-south, 32 per cent in the South-east, 58 per cent in the North-central, 72 per cent in the North-west, and 83 per cent in the North-east.  One implication to note here is that a typical child in the North-east sub-region is about four times more likely to be illiterate than his or her mate in the South-west.   This pattern which clearly mirrors the sub-regional differentials in school attendance becomes even sharper when we consider numeracy. Whereas only 11 per cent of children of ages 5-16 cannot perform simple addition in the South-west, the figures for the other sub-regions are: South-south – 19 per cent, South-east – 21 per cent, North-central – 42 per cent, North-west – 61 per cent, and North-east – 73 per cent.  Again, the implication is that the chances of the average child in the North-east being innumerate are nearly seven times those of the average child residing in the South-west.       

No comments:

Post a Comment