The Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Prof. Adebayo Oladipo, says promoting lifelong learning and adult literacy programmes will enable individuals to adapt to the evolving demands of workforce.
He said it will also ensure that they stay engaged in an ever changing world.
The dean said this at the International Literacy Day celebration with the theme ‘Promoting Literacy for a World in Transition: Building the Foundation for Sustainable and Peaceful Societies’, organised by the Department of Adult Education recently.
The don noted that this year’s theme underscored the profound changes the world is experiencing, from technological advancements to shifts in social and economic dynamics.
“In this time of rapid transformation, literacy is more critical than ever. Literacy is not just the ability to write, it is a fundamental cornerstone of personal and societal development, a beacon of hope in a world undergoing constant transformation.
“Literacy is also a powerful tool for personal empowerment, social inclusion and economic prosperity. It is the key that unlocks doors to knowledge, opportunities and better lives.
“Our world is indeed in a perpetual transition. Advances in technology, the ever accelerating pace of change and global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic have reshaped our lives in ways we could never have predicted.
“Therefore, in this dynamic environment, promoting literacy is not just a noble endeavor, it is a necessity. It is the lighthouse guiding us through the stormy seas of uncertainty,” he said.
Oladipo stated that in a world where information is readily available at the fingertips, literacy becomes the gateway to making sense of it all.
According to him, literacy remains a shield against misinformation and disinformation, especially in a world where lines between facts and fiction often blur.
He said literacy equips individuals with critical thinking skills to discern the truth as it is the antidote to the poison of ignorance and prejudice, while fostering a more informed and inclusive society.
“Aside from promoting lifelong learning and adult literacy, we must commit ourselves to other key principles such as fostering inclusivity, by ensuring that literacy programmes are inclusive and accessible to all, regardless of gender, sociology-economic status, ethnicity or disabilities among others.
“As we commemorate this international literacy day, let us renew our dedication to the cause of literacy. Let us be the change makers, the advocates and the champions for a world where everyone can read, write and learn,” he stated.
The acting Head, Department of Adult Education, Dr. Ronke Ojo, said the essence of the event was to create more awareness on the need to be educated, adding that the awareness was essentially for those that were not being captured in the acquisition of formal education.
“Today we went all out for a road show with our students, distributing handbills in our surrounding communities, even as far as Bariga, sensitising them about today’s celebration and why they need to go back to school.
“The category of persons could be those who dropped off from school at an early stage in life or did not complete their primary or secondary school education.
“In the Department of Adult Education here in UNILAG, we have an adult literacy school where we enrol such students for a duration of six years, free of charge.
“The Lagos Ministry of Education has been of great support to this programme, as they have always supplied us with learning materials.
“We also lecture them using our 300 level and postgraduate students and also supervise them for free. They are taught how to read, write and arithmetics. We started this literacy school since I got to this university as far back as 2010.
“So far, we have graduated no fewer than 200 of the students with certificates. So many of them have joined formal secondary schools and done their GCE. We train them up to JSS 3 and they join formal education for those of them that are young.
“For those of them that are older, they join the continuous education centres. As we speak, we have two of them that are already in our sandwich programme currently,” she said.
Ojo stated that the students normally spend six years once they are enrolled every September, with rigorous teaching, without holidays, Mondays through Thursdays.
She noted that they normally complete their primary education within three years, then commence the JSS for another three years.
According to her, all hands must be on deck to deepen the gains of literacy in the society and the world at large, by supporting government in providing teaching and learning materials, as well as embarking on mass sensitisation.
“Government is doing well to drive literacy campaign, but I think it is a job for us all. Education is a life long journey and experience, we must strive to make it work in order to make our world a better and peaceful place to live in,” she stated.
An associate professor and Literacy Cordinator in the Department of Adult Education, Dr. Blessing Anyikwa, said the day is a reminder of the power of words and the importance of knowledge.
She noted that it was also a platform to demonstrate the role the society could play in building a suitable and peaceful world.
According to her, it is important to recognise the Department of Adult Education in promoting literacy within and outside the university, through its collaboration with stakeholders within the government parastatals and others.
“This year’s theme reminds us that literacy is not just about individual advancement, it is the foundation upon which we build stronger communities and a better world.
“Literacy is the key to understanding complex issues, engaging in informed discussions and finding solutions to the challenges that our world is facing.
“It is essential to remember that not everyone has access to literacy.
“We can all see our choice of panel discussants who will shed light on the theme, and as we engage in this important learning process, let us see literacy as a gift and force for positive social change, not just today, but every day because literacy affects peace, and peace affects literacy,” she said.