Presidential Address: RAN and Literacy Promotion in Nigeria

The RAN is delighted to be here in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, for its 4th biennial conference. By this fact, we are celebrating our 7th year of existence as an Association. For in August 1982, this Association was born. The society/educational context in which the Association was born was then very dismal. The UPE, begun in 1976, was entering its phase 2, that is, the Junior Secondary School stage. It was therefore a time when the new National Policy on Education, is the 6—3—3-4 system of education, was being formally launched. This was the year when the weaknesses of our educational system started to show. There was supposed to be a near 100% transition from primary VI class to 155 Form 1. But the surveys conducted in parts of the country showed that:
a) most pupils. were totally illiterate at the end of primary education;
b) a large number were almost total illiterates at the end of their secondary education;
c) primary school teachers were in large numbers illiterate in English;
d) teachers at post primary education levels did not read, although they could;
e) adults outside the school system hardly ever read effectively;
f) books to read were not available in the homes of over 50% of Nigerian nuclear families;
g) more seriously, books to read were not available to pupils within the formal school system;
h) Nigerian languages were being marginalized as literacy languages because there were no books to read in them;
i) adult Nigerians do not read for pleasure.

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