More than 755 million adults worldwide were unable to read and write in any language as recorded in the year 2010. In Nigeria, statistics show that in 2015, the adult illiteracy in the country was 41.3 million and kept growing at an average annual rate of 21.00%.
A study done by the United Nations agency in 2014 proved that cell phones can help to improve literacy. The study was conducted among people in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe and states, “Cellphones are getting more and more people to read in countries where books are rare and illiteracy is high”.
People growing up today are surrounded by technology. Those who have grown up alongside the technological advancements throughout the past decades have seen it evolve but have also had to adopt to all the changes being made.
In the beginning the purpose of phones was intentionally designed for communication, but as they evolved their size, appearance, and overall function has drastically advanced.
Smartphones have a way in aiding people to become literate. Because of the numerous features that it possesses, it is able to assist people in learning different languages as well as translating these languages.
With the help of several unique apps on smartphones, Nigerians can effectively learn, read and write things they couldn’t before. Aside its involvement in aiding literacy it also plays a role in assisting people in migrating out of poverty and enabling people become knowledgeable and live healthier lives.
Reports have also shown that girls and woman in general appear to use mobile devices as a portal to obtain reading and learning materials, in spite of their lower rates of mobile phone ownership and greatly outnumber males at a higher level of usage.
Mobile reading has the potential to open educational opportunities to a lot of Nigerians, ultimately reducing the illiteracy rate in the country by a long shot because even the simplest of phones are a gateway to long-form texts.
Learning platforms like uLesson and Unified camp offers learning and exercise materials for students from different levels to aid them educationally and deepen their knowledge.
Majority of Nigerians who can neither read or write in their mother tongue or any language at all are mostly found living in typical rural communities. The business model of mobile phones has however proved viable in developing countries like Nigeria and hopefully its coverage will improve despite infrastructural shortcomings like availability of electricity, limited power charging devices, high internet charges and cost of ownership relative to income in the years to come.
In all, smartphones have influenced the way in which people use their literacy skills and language. Its numerous aid for communication, apps and tools are a great source for the application of literacy.
Perhaps the continues development of mobile phones will be the solution the future holds for much advancement in technology and also literacy.