UNESCO and the Media and Information Literacy Coalition of Nigeria seek a literate society
With the increasingly important role of the media in the lives of people and society, as a result of the ever-increasing technology, more attention is being drawn and devoted to the relationship between the media and society. This has no doubt attracted more interest to the imperativeness of stakeholders to develop strategies, aimed at educating citizens to learn and imbibe the skills of Media and Information Literacy (MIL).
UNESCO Abuja in 2017 supported Nigeria to form a coalition, currently referred to Media and Information Literacy Coalition of Nigeria (MILCON). The aim of the Coalition is to facilitate coordination of interventions on MIL in Nigeria, promote synergy amongst stakeholders, towards advocacies on National Policies, integration of MIL into school’s curriculum and promotion of MIL literacy society.
The Coalition works with national partners, the continental platform, the Pan-African Alliance on Media & Information Literacy (PAMIL), the Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media & information Literacy (GAPMIL), Government Ministries and other relevant stakeholders to execute its mandate.
Since its inauguration in July 2017 and subsequent meetings, MILCON has rallied MIL organizations and enthusiasts to promote MIL and its importance for establishing a literacy society for all, and to promote the national development. The activities of the Coalition have helped the country to become fully integrated into the global MIL movement and provide opportunities for children, youth, students, teachers, researchers, parents, administrators as well as government and its officials to take full advantage of the benefits of MIL.
In order to position the Coalition for sustainability and enhance its membership for national integration, peace building, inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, UNESCO and MILCON called for a consultative meeting in February. Fifty-two representatives from forty-three organizations were represented at the meeting.
One of the key highlights of the meeting was the achievement of UNESCO and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), on the inclusion of the MIL into Colleges of Education Minimum Standard as part of the General courses (GES) for 100 and 200 level students of Colleges of Education.
At the end of the meeting, the Coalition decides on the following strategic plans, to:
- work with necessary stakeholders, particularly UNESCO in developing a National MIL Policy for the country;
- identify and request relevant institutions to get involved in MIL membership of the Coalition
- use the platform to raise awareness among partners and the public on global best practices of MIL in addressing the increasing challenges of fake news and hate speech;
- formalize the structure of the coalition and conduct elections to the leadership positions that will facilitate its operations;
- identify, support and educate youth initiatives related to MIL on accountable, ethical and intelligent use of information as well as engagement with technology and media;
- organize national activities around the Global MIL Week and initiate a biennial MIL Conference on MIL with a national MIL prize to be awarded during the biennial conference
- continue to serve as advocate of MIL curriculum integration, into the school curriculum at all levels as well as promotion of MOOC training courses for trainers and entities on MIL.