UNILAG Dept. Of Adult Education celebrates International Literacy Day In Grand Style

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The Department of Adult Education, University of Lagos (UNILAG) within the week celebrated the 2023 International Literacy Day with advocacy & sensitization activities which commenced with a walk/roadshow from the University to Bariga.

During the walk, the students and staff of the Department enrolled learners in its Adult Basic Education (ABE) Centre, located at the UNILAG Staff School.

Afterward, participants re-convened at the Faculty of Education Hall for a Panel Discussion with the theme: Promoting literacy for a World in Transition: Building the Foundation for Sustainable and Peaceful Societies.

The Panel consisted of Director, Lagos State Agency for Mass Education (AME), Mrs. Oluwakemi Kalesanwo represented by Mrs. Ibukunoluwa Seriki; Prof. Kester Ojokheta of the Department of Adult Education, University of Ibadan; Chairman, Non-Governmental Association for Literary Support Services (NOGALSS), Mr. Afolabi Bello and Prof. Yemisi Obashoro-John as the moderator.

During the Panel Discussion, Prof. Kester Ojokheta appreciated the Department of Adult Education for celebrating the ILD. He disclosed that it is the only department that celebrates the day in southern Nigeria, if not the whole of Nigeria.

He talked about literacy and how people need one form of literacy or the other. He noted that development will continue to elude Nigeria if attention is not paid to literacy, as “literacy is a commodity, everyone must invest in.” He implored everyone – individuals, non-governmental organisations, media, etc – to contribute in one way or the other to literacy, rather than waiting on the government to do something about literacy.

The presentations of Mr. Afolabi Bello focused on testimonies from people NOGALSS had helped over the years while that of Mrs. Ibukunoluwa Seriki provided experiences, challenges as well as testimonials at AME. She revealed that AME has seven hundred and thirty (730) centres across the state.

Earlier in his address, the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Prof. Adebayo Oladipo who doubled as the representative of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, revealed that the event’s theme underscored the pivotal changes the world is experiencing, from technological advancements to shifts in social and economic dynamics. He pointed out that literacy is not just about the ability to read and write, but rather it is a fundamental cornerstone of personal and societal development, a beacon of hope in a world undergoing constant transformation.

According to him, literacy plays a profound role in shaping the destiny of individuals and nations alike, as it is a powerful tool for personal empowerment, social inclusion, and economic prosperity.

Further describing literacy as the key that unlocks doors to knowledge, opportunities, and better lives, Prof. Oladipo called for the continuous provision of access to quality education to children, adaptation of changing technologies, and promotion of adult literacy, among others.

The Head of, the Department of Adult Education, Dr. Ronke Ojo, in her welcome address, noted that this year’s theme would help promote, in the parlance of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, “a future-ready” society. She reiterated the slogan of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO): “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader”. Her words, “To promote literacy for all, all hands must be on deck to support education as well as empower women, girls and special children, as education is everyone’s business”.

Similarly in her presentation, the Literacy Coordinator of the Department of Adult Education and Deputy Dean of, the Student Affairs Division, Dr. Blessing Anyikwa noted that in a world that is constantly changing and evolving, literacy is the compass that guides people through seas of information to make informed decisions. She emphasized the need to make literacy accessible to all, regardless of background or circumstances; and support initiatives that promote a change of mindset in communities and academic environment to build sustainability and peace in the nation.

Dr. Anyikwa disclosed that the Department of Adult Education had in the last thirteen (13) years, consistently celebrated UNESCO’s International Literacy Day on 8th September, in recognition of the profound impact of literacy in lives and the world. She explained that the celebrations could not be on September 8 this year due to several reasons.

Prof. T. V. Bakare gave a brief talk on the Department of Adult Education Literacy School/Adult Basic Education Centre, mentioning its successes, benefits, and challenges. She also showcased some of the new learners and presented gifts to the most consistent of the new learners.

The event also featured a questions and answers session, a 5-minute presentation by three Ph.D. students of the Department, a thrilling cultural dance display by students, some talks from sponsors and a vote of thanks by Dr. Oye Oyelami.

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