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Only 7% Nigerian youths have ICT skills — UNICEF

Oluwatosin added that 73 per cent of 10-year-olds could not read a simple text with understanding and only one in four children (ages seven–14) in Nigeria demonstrated foundational skills.
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United Nations Children’s Fund has revealed that only seven per cent of Nigerian youths have the Information Communication Technology skills needed for working and living in a digital economy.

Speaking during a two-day workshop organised for the media in Edo State, Education Specialist, UNICEF Nigeria, Yetunde Oluwatosin, in a presentation titled, ‘An Overview of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy In Nigeria,’ added that only 73 per cent of Nigerian youth were literate.

The workshop was held in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency, Lagos State, and Edo State Universal Basic Education Board, and was designed to reduce learning poverty and boost outcomes.

Oluwatosin added that 73 per cent of 10-year-olds could not read a simple text with understanding and only one in four children (ages seven–14) in Nigeria demonstrated foundational skills.

She analysed that 27 per cent of seven to 14-year-olds had literacy skills while 25 per cent of seven to 14-year-olds had numeracy skills.

Her presentation revealed that nine in 10 girls and boys in Sub-Saharan Africa could not read by age 10.

She, however, maintained that Nigeria’s learning crisis was stalling development nationally and globally.

“Just 63 per cent of five-year-olds, and even fewer of the poorest children, children in rural areas and in the North, participate in organized learning. 3 out of 4 children in Nigeria cannot read with meaning or solve simple math problems. This leads to late primary entry and poor early learning outcomes. Only 73 per cent of Nigerian youth are literate and only seven per cent have ICT skills needed for working and living in a digital economy,” she said.

She added that UNICEF was improving the quality of teaching and learning materials and had empowered over 1.8m children with learning materials between 2018-2022.

Oluwatosin advised that “Provide sufficient learning materials including workbooks to learners. Address deficiencies in teacher competencies and teacher shortage. Address social inclusion of differently-abled pupils and persons with special needs in both methodologies. Address gaps in data collection and processing. Combine early learning and cash transfer interventions for a multiplier effect on girls’ enrolment, retention and completion. “

Also speaking, Commissioner for Education, Edo State, Dr Joan Oviawe, emphasised the different initiatives taken by the administration under the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation programme, saying it had enhanced learning in the state.

She highlighted the state’s initiatives, such as mass literacy programmes, particularly targeting out-of-school populations and introducing technology into the education agenda by distributing learning tablets to students and teachers.

Oviawe stated, “We also introduced technology into our learning agenda and also distributed learning tablets for students and teachers to encourage them and ensure that learning activities are well structured and centralised.”

The Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education, Eyitayo Salami, said, “Prior to now when we do not have accurate data, we had schools with more buildings than they actually needed and some with insufficient structures. So, with the current digital education system in the state, our data is guiding us to know the number of community schools in need and how many neighbouring schools are available to us.”

UNICEF Communication Officer, Mrs Blessing Ejiofor, appealed to the media to use their power to reduce learning poverty and influence positive policy from decision makers in favour of children.

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