Nigeria to host Pan-African literacy for all conference in August
Reading Association of Nigeria (RAN), a literate body, will host 2017 Pan-African Literacy For All (PALFA) conference, scheduled from August 27 through 31, 2017, in Abuja. With the theme ‘Connecting and Engaging with Literacy: Systems and Structures for sustainable Development,’ it comes every two years in countries, where local affiliate organisations are in place in partnership with the International Literacy Association (ILA).National President of RAN, Mrs. Irene C. Mbanefo, told The Guardian that the biennial literacy conference has assumed an unprecedented scope in bringing together government’s agencies and institutions, researchers and educators.
She also stated, “We are expecting and have invited publishers, librarians, international development workers and donor agencies from across the globe to interface and collaborate on literacy development in Africa. This year’s conference promises to engage Northern Education Initiative, operating under United State of America International Development, which is presenting a colloquium on their educational activities in Bauchi and Sokoto States.”
Mbanefo further explained, “the PALFA conference is an important event for educationists across Africa, providing unique opportunity for teachers and investigators to come together to share and learn from classroom, country, and regional projects. We aim at improving the quality of literacy education on the African continent by adopting multi-stakeholders dimension in sharing ideas, researches, evidence-based best practices in literacy-related instructional.“We intend to employ assessment delivery processes and the challenges of literacy acquisition and sustainability in Africa nations. So, we recognise that literacy disputes affecting countries are different and context-specific across gender, age, education and socio-economic levels. The extent to which nations are successful or otherwise is a factor of acquisition and application of functional literacy skills by citizenry.”
RAN President noted that the choice of Abuja conference is inspired by the need to interrogate the systems, policies and structures designed to entrench literacy culture for sustainable development in and among Africans within the backdrop of Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
To her, SDGs envision a world that is economically empowered, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable and mandate the provision of lifelong learning opportunities that will help all categories of people to acquire knowledge and skills needed to engage and participate fully in society.
Mbanefo also noted, “This implies questioning some traditional concepts and constructs of reading and literacy and strengthening, and supporting systems and structures, which enhance literature for development in Africa.
“We need to think through holistic approaches to providing inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels, especially for the girl child. This is coming with hindsight that many Africans are still unable to apply critical literacy skills to access information to competently use it to address issues.”