CONVENTION LITERACY PROGRAMME AT A GLANCE
The beginning of "Sunday School Class" by the first Baptist Missionary to Nigeria could be said to mark the commencement of Literacy programme of the Nigerian Baptist Convention. This unorganized literacy programme continued until 1960 when the Convention formally organized and inaugurated the programme. A missionary named Dr. A. H. Dyson was appointed the first head of the department of Adult Education as it was called then. In 1983, a new Director in person of Dr. K. O. Anifowose was appointed following the exit of Dr. A. H. Dyson. Dr Anifowose stirred the ship of the department till September 28, 1998, when he died in a ghastly motor accident along Kaduna road.
In the early part of 1998, before the demise of Dr. Anifowose, there had been a re-structuring at the Baptist Building that changed the name of the department from Adult Education to Social Ministries Department with Adult Education becoming a division under Social Ministries alongside other divisions like Prison Ministry and Social Concerns. Following that was Revd. Dr. J. A. Aderinto who became the Director of Social Ministries Department. In the year 2000, another restructuring occurred and The Adult Education Division was transferred from Social Ministries Department to Christian Education Department. This was to bring all Educational programmes of the Convention under one department. The following year, a proposal for the change of the name of the division from Adult Education to Literacy was presented to the Advisory Board of the Christian Education Department by Mr. S. O. Adeyemo, the officer in charge of the division. This was approved and the name was changed to Literacy Division. The reason for the change was to fully integrate the young literacy learners who are not Adults into the programme.
To reach out to the illiterates within the churches of the Nigerian Baptist Convention. . To use literacy programme as a tool for evangelism i.e. reaching out to all illiterates irrespective of ethnic or religious inclination. . To help teach one and win one for Christ. . To cooperate with the Federal State and Local Government or any private agency involved in the fight against illiteracy. . To help train volunteer literacy facilitators who will in turn facilitate the learning of Literacy among the learners. . To develop literacy primers and follow-up literatures. . To expose the illiterate ones to the know- how of studying and meditating in the Word of God.
TYPES OF LITERACY PROGRAMMES
The Convention runs three types of literacy programmes, namely: Basic, Post-Basic and Functional literacy programmes. Basic Literacy: This is a literacy programme organized for beginners. These are people coming to the learning environment for the first time. They see writing and reading as magic, they are to be helped hence they are helped to learn the three (3R) 'riting, Reading and 'rithemetics.
Post Basic: This type of literacy programme is meant for those who are willilng to move higher in their learning activities. They want to go beyond just knowing how to read and write to obtain one certificate or the other e.g. primary six, G.C.E. etc.
Funtional Literacy: This is a programme designed to help the people in their everyday life. It is literacy for the development of one and the society. Such literacy skills when acquired can help one in his/her work or vocations. It is the skills required of a man or a woman to function well in a society.
What in the world is literacy ministry all about? According to Dr. K. O. Anifowose, literacy ministry is not mere teaching others how to read and write, but a God-centered love in action. It is the believers' sharing of their God-given talents with others in love purposely to help them discover their God-given potentialities. In essence, literacy ministry is the leading of others to Christ through teaching and witnessing. It is invariably a call to serve others through teaching. The concept of literacy ministry emerged from the love and compassion Jesus had for His disciples, comprising both Jews and Gentiles who were always flocking to Him during His earthly ministry. Starting literacy ministry calls for Divine wisdom and inspiration. Literacy ministry cannot be done without self-dedication, genuine love, compassion for people and being sensitive to needs of the illiterate contingents of the society. Before embarking on the work of literacy ministry, one should have been a prayerful and dedicated Christian. One should have counted the cost of self dedication and be well convinced that God actually wants him to serve in this ministry. All literacy ministry facilitators viz Adult teachers, Superintendents and the likes, should emulate Jesus, the ultimate founder and originator of literacy ministry.
LITERACY MISSION WEEK
This is a programme which was inaugurated in 1985. It is a one-week annual programme designed to allow for the participation of adult new readers and their handlers. It is to be observed by every Baptist Church in our prestigious Nigerian Baptist Convention. During this week, special programmes are observed to motivate the adult readers, teachers and churches so they may continue to relish and embrace the reading classes. The programmes for the week are often gotten from the Literacy Division of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Baptist Building, Oke-Bola, Ibadan.
The Nigerian Baptist Convention has deemed it fit to set apart the first week of March, every year for the Literacy Mission Week in all local Baptist Churches. The weekly programme depending on local churches preferences often includes varieties such as dramas, informative and educative lectures on various topics such as health, education, child-care, Christian faith and so on. Important personalities and experts on various fields are invited as facilitators of the various programmes of the week. Bible quiz is also included in the weekly programme. As the name of the week suggests, it is believed that the programme will be designed in such a way that will largely promote the cardinal aim of winning more souls for Christ. It is therefore expedient for every church of the Nigerian Baptist Convention to embrace and promote the Literacy Mission Week for kingdom growth and to the glory of God.
Do you know that Literacy Ministry is a veritable tool for evangelism? Do you have a Literacy Ministry in your church? If your answer is no, please start one today. Appoint a Literacy Director and other Literacy facilitators for your Church. Besides, help your Association to establish a Literacy Division. Appoint a Literacy Superintendent for the Association and he or she is to supervise the Literacy activities of all the Churches in the Association. APPEAL We appeal to all the Conference Secretaries to appoint somebody who has been in the ministry: volunteer or appointed officer who oversees the Literacy activities of all the Associations in the Conference. Let's all join in the effort of giving the Nigerian Baptist Convention Literacy Programme a better, transforming, and result oriented outlook as we resolve to give Convention Literacy Programme a better place in our churches. For more information on how you can establish an effective Literacy Ministry in your church, please contact our office, Literacy Division, Christian Education Department, Baptist Building, Ibadan or the Conference Literacy Officer/Education Minister of your Conference.
ANNUAL CHRISTIAN EDUCATION CONFERENCE
We implore our churches to endeavour to have and sponsor literacy workers to our Annual Christian Education Conference and as well as applicable.
LITERACY QUATERLY REPORTS FROM ASSOCIATIONS
We would like all our Literacy Associational Superintendents / Coordinators to send in their quarterly reports at the appropriate time for good correspondence.
ASSOCIATIONAL LITERACY SEMINAR
We urge all our Associational Superintendents / Coordinators on the need to organize a Literacy Seminar at least once a year, to serve as a form of retreat for all Literacy workers in churches within the Association. Reports on this should be forwarded to us along with the quarterly reports.
LITERACY WORKERS’ RETREAT
For the purpose of maximizing the NBC Literacy Programme in our various churches, we passionately recommend that individual churches should organize a yearly retreat for all their literacy facilitators.