Literacy is useful at the individual level in inculcating humanistic etiquettes and manners. The human benefits from literature are related to factors such as the improved self-esteem, empowerment, creativity and critical reflection that participation in adult literacy programmes and the practice of literacy may produce. Benefits human derive from literacy apart from ability to read and write or numerate include improved health, increased political participation and so on. Nigeria is the most populous nation in sub-Saharan Africa and has estimated population of 158.4 million. Understanding the need for a literate society, the country has been involved with many activities aimed at providing access to literacy. However, there is disparity in access to literacy between urban and rural communities in Nigeria. The social and economic dimensions of providing education for the population, within the context of prevailing national circumstances of dwindling financial and other resources in the face of developments needs are heavy and investments in health, education and water supply have been focused largely on the cities. Despite phenomenal growth of the formal educational systems and the interest shown to non-formal education in the past decades, some members of the population are still found to be non-literate in Nigeria. Statistics of the 2006 census summary also reflect that a high percentage of rural dwellers including women do not have formal education. For the facts enumerated above, this study discusses the socio-economic need of rural literacy in the face of challenges that determined the rural people assessing educational opportunities. The paper also established the relationship that exists between rural and urban communities and concludes that for sustainable development of the rural communities, literacy must be able to attend to the livelihood and improvement skills of the people in the rural areas.
Key words: Rural literacy, Panacea, socio-economy development, Nigeria.