80% of young Nigerian adults with primary education can’t read – World Bank report

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The World Development Report (WDR) 2018 of the World Bank Group launched today in Abuja has revealed a critical statistic that only 20 per cent of Nigeria young adult who completed primary education can read.

However, the global report did not account for 260 million children who for reasons of conflict, discrimination, disability, and other obstacles, are not enrolled in primary or secondary school.

The report with the theme: ‘Learning to Realize Education’s Promise’ co-launched on Tuesday in Abuja with the World Bank Group, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of Education called for greater measurement, action on evidence, and coordination of all education actors.

The report said millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life.

It warned of a ‘learning crisis’ in global education, saying, schooling without learning was not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice to children and young people worldwide.

“Without learning, education will fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all. Even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math,” the report said.

“This learning crisis is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them. Young students who are already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability reach young adulthood without even the most basic life skills.”

According to the report, when third grade students in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda were asked recently to read a sentence such as “The name of the dog is Puppy” in English or Kiswahili, three-quarters could not provide the name of the dog.

It said other evidence showed that in Nigeria, when fourth grade students were asked to complete a simple two-digit subtraction problem, more than three-quarters could not solve it.

In her remark, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, stated that, “Education remains critical to global development and human welfare in every society, and especially for Africa and indeed for Nigeria, given the state of our development. Several strategies targeted at the education sector are currently being undertaken by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

“This includes the N-Power programme- the home-grown School Feeding Programme aimed at reducing the number of out of school children, and also the World Bank sponsored Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) Programme designed to bring out-of-school-children into the classroom.”

Adeosun said, there was a need to align all the education programs and actors to achieve this common objective.

Mallam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education said, “We must stop just spending on education; we must begin to start looking at our spending as an investment in education.

“The Federal Ministry of Education after several consultations with stakeholders in the education sector including the World Bank, developed a road map for the education sector captioned ‘Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan.’ The plan is built on ten pillars which address the well-known areas of education.”

Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director, Nigeria, explained that the group would continue its support to the Nigerian Government in its education sector reforms to increase access and improve quality and learning outcomes.

“The Government of Nigeria has identified a crisis in education. We hope the evidence presented in the WDR report will contribute positively to the Government’s response in transforming its education system. Every Nigerian child deserves to achieve her/his full potential and quality education is key to unlocking this,” Benmessaoud said.

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