NMEC to standardize basic literacy exams in Nigeria

The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) has agreed to standardize the administration of basic literacy examinations in the non-formal education sector in Nigeria.

With this development, children from 11-17 years of age who attend Non-Formal Learning Centers across Nigeria will sit for standardized examinations administered by the State Agencies for Mass Education (SAMEs) to qualify for basic literacy certificates.

NMEC was supported by the USAID-funded Northern Education Initiative Plus during a three-day workshop from June 11-13, 2019 in Kano state to standardize the structure of non-formal education examinations, in line with the existing curriculum.

The workshop was attended by the Commission, SAMEs, lecturers from the Ahmadu Bello University-Zaria, Usman Danfodio University-Sokoto and College of Education Azare-Bauchi and staff of the project.

NMEC National Director for Literacy and Development, Dr. Musa Gusau said in the nearest future, basic literacy examinations will no longer be state-specific but rather uniform across the 36 states of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory.

“Our tests covering literacy, numeracy and life skills will now be criterion-referenced, have a marking scheme, and a scoring system across all states,” Gusau said.

Over 200 test items selected from the non-formal education curriculum, Early Grade Reading Assessment and Group Administered Literacy Assessment were developed by participants.

To administer examinations, SAMEs will set up a formal process, which will include the establishment of an examinations committee and arrange for supervision by an examinations officer.

In the last three years, the Northern Education Initiative Plus, in collaboration with Bauchi and Sokoto SAMEs, has conducted exit examinations for about 190,000 children—following completion of a nine-month basic literacy program in the Non-Formal Learning Centers. Several thousand of these children have already been mainstreamed into formal schools through this effort.

Standardizing the examinations gives the basic literacy certificates more credibility within the Nigerian education system, further supporting the success of the students in the formal schools.

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