The Heart of Literacy Darkness: A Holistic Approach to Addressing the Literacy Instruction Problem in a Rural Nigerian Community
Obiajulu Emejulu
General Studies Unit, Federal University of Technoology, Owerri, Ima State, Nigeria
Ngozi Udengwu
Department of Theatre Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu Slate, Nigeria

Literacy instruction in Nigeria is lacking both quantitatively and qualitatively —quantitatively, because a larger population of Nigerians has no access to education, and qualitatively, because endemic lack of educational materials and infrastructure militate against literacy programmes. This problem is more evident in the rural areas where a larger population of the country lives, but who are, ironically, most neglected. The present study focuses on Ebonyi State, one of such areas neglected for a very long time.Members of the Reading Association of Nigeria conducted a workshop for teachers in Ebonyi State of Nigeria in December 2003. Ebonyi, a young State, is also one of the
educationally backward states in Nigeria. The present State government is taking drastic measures to sanitize education sector and to improve literacy level in the State. However, an interactive session with the teachers and their headmasters, at the workshop, revealed that the State will remain in the heart of literacy darkness if an appropriate measure is not taken to address literacy problems there. Based on the nature and quantum of the complaints from the teachers, the resource persons at the workshop realized that literacy problem in the State is multi—faceted. This paper identifies the various ways in which these problems are manifest and are entrenched. It argues that a holistic approach to addressing literacy problem in Ebonyi State is the only alternative to achieving sustainable literacy in the young State.

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