AN ASSESSMENT OF GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT IN ADULT LITERACY PROGRAMMES
1.1 Background of the Study
To build a society that is self-sufficient requires the mobilization of the uneducated, the poor and underdeveloped, many of whom have untapped potentials; and if they are fully developed will be of immense benefit not only to themselves but to the nation as a whole. On this premise the British and French governments promoted mass education in their colonies; their primary objective was to give the masses opportunity to participate in the conduct of their own affairs. The ultimate aim was to develop, among the masses, enlightened public opinion, to ensure, particularly civic education and the development of reasoned opinions on matters of local and national government rather than the parroting of a few people, or a lethargic acceptance of the status quo (Omolewa, 1987:16). Similarly, one is literate when he has acquired the essential knowledge and skills which enable him to engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning in his group and community, and whose attainments in reading, writing and arithmetic make it possible for him to continue to use these skills towards his own and the community’s development. The concept of literacy should be understood as the ability to read, write and compute in any language and to an appreciable level. However, other bye-concepts are functional literacy, illiteracy and semi-illiteracy. Functional literacy, according to Oduaran (1991), refers aptly to the ability to use the skill of reading, writing and computing in the acquisition of such information as would make the individual function more actively and beneficially in the economic, social, political and cultural activities of the community where he lives. Hence the ability of the individual to contribute to the development of the country lies in his ability to read and write. There cannot be meaningful development in a modern society where majority of the populace is illiterate. The implication therefore, is the scaling up of literacy programmes to be part of major national endeavor, even if it finds practical expression in a diversity of programme activities. The report of Human Development rates Nigeria as having the highest number of illiterates in the world. In agreement, The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), discloses that, “there are about 60 million adults in Nigeria, 85% of them under the age of 35 years, who can neither read nor write” (EFA, 2000). Despite the importance of education, to improve standard of living, Nigeria has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, world map (2011).
The low level literacy partly accounts for the low level of development in Nigeria. Thus, a nation which undermines the contributions of the some of her citizens makes slow progress towards national development. The realization of organizational objectives depends largely on the quantity and quality of personnel (manpower) available in the organization and the degree of effectiveness in the utilization of available manpower. Commenting on this point, Imhabekhai (1998) advocates that it is imperative that management of any organization makes sufficient efforts in procuring and developing the needed manpower resources and pay attention to how well they are utilized. However, experience has shown that in most public agencies, greater interest is shown in the areas of manpower development and procurement or recruitment than in how effectively utilized are the available manpower resources.
The National Policy in Education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, FRN 2004:32) lists seven components of adult and non-formal education. These are functional literacy, remedial continuing, vocational, aesthetic, cultural and civic education for youths and adults outside the formal school system. At the same time the FRN (2004:25) outlines goals of mass literacy, adult and non-formal education as that which shall be to: Provide functional literacy and continuing education for adults and youths who have never had the advantage of formal education or who did not complete their primary education. These include the nomads, migrant families, the disabled and other categories or groups, especially the disadvantaged gender, Provide functional and remedial education for those young people who did not education, Provide education for different categories of completers of the formal education system in order to improve their basic knowledge and skills, Provide in-service on the job, vocational and professional training for different categories of workers and professionals in order to improve their skills, and Give the adult citizens of the country necessary aesthetic, cultural and civic education for public enlightenment.
Programmes are therefore designed and structured to meet the needs of adults and persons that did not acquire enough formal education, or none at all, as well as those that need to sustain learning for self-employment. It could be seen that adult education is neither just for persons who are desirous to read, write and communicate particularly in English nor for people who are advanced in age, it is a programme designed and aimed at adult persons and those who could not for one reason complete their education in a formal setting when they were young. The ultimate beneficiaries will be mainly young girls and women, youth and out-of-school children, and vulnerable populations and groups who have suffered from decades of prejudice, marginalization, discrimination and even exclusion, particularly in urban slums and rural areas. Adult education now involves the study of various disciplines such as economics, agriculture, history, hygiene, arts and crafts, in these ways; the adult population is involved in planning programmes so that they can gain practical skills for individual improvement and societal development.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There are still major increases in the rate of adult illiteracy in Nigeria despite all the efforts made to stamp out illiteracy in the country. Apart from the series of campaigns which were made between 1946 and 2003, and yearly sensitization of people, only a negligible drop in the rate of illiteracy was recorded (Omoyeni and Ajayi, 2010). The majority of the population is in the rural areas where they live in poverty or absolute want and could not afford the demands of formal education system, hence the cases of school drop outs. The lack of knowledge and skills needed for self reliance, employment in industries and public establishment invariably results to youth restiveness as well as other social vices. Ogbezor and Okanezi (2008) research report demonstrated that massive unemployment of River State indigenes invariable results from lack of technical skills needed in various industries as well as lack of entrepreneurial initiatives and enhancing ethical aspect. These quality and equity issues are basically related to: (a) socioeconomic condition, (b) zone of residence (urban/rural), (c) ethnic identity and language, and (d) gender.
A National Literacy Survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (2010) in Nigeria estimates the adult literacy rate as 56.9%, with huge variations between states (Lagos 92.0% and Borno 14.5%), regions (urban 74.6% and rural 48.7%) and sex (male 65.1% and female 48.6%). More importantly, statistics from the Federal Ministry of Education (2006) indicated that only 500,000 of the 40 million adult illiterates are enrolled in adult learning classes. There are also 3.5 million nomadic school-aged children with only 450,000 of them accessing any form of schooling. Nigeria is further saddled with the largest number of out-of-school-children estimated at over 7 million (10% of the global total). The Nigerian Government recognizes that literacy education will help equip individuals with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for economic self-sufficiency, poverty reduction and sustainable development, and is therefore making efforts to address the illiteracy challenge. Keeping such a large percentage of the population outside the radiance of literacy and education makes the task of national development more complex and burdensome. If something drastic is not done to accelerate literacy and education for all Nigerians, the country may fail to achieve the significant milestones of its developmental targets under Vision 20:20:20.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study sought to know the assessment of government involvement in adult literacy programmes. Specifically, the study sought to;
- Ascertain whether the adult literacy programmes can make adult learners to be resourceful.
- Ascertain whether the adult literacy programmes provide the participants with practical skills.
iii. Ascertain how government assessment or the skills acquired are being utilized or put into practice, by preparing and equipping the participants for wage employment or self-employment.
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extent does the adult literacy programmes make adults learners to be resourceful?
- Does adult literacy programmes provide the participants with practical skills?
iii. How does government assessment or the skills acquired are being utilized or put into practice, by preparing and equipping the participants for wage employment or self-employment?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
Ho1: Adult literacy programmes cannot make adult learners to be resourceful.
Ho2: Adult literacy programmes does not provide the participants with practical skills.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the Study
This study is on assessment of government involvement in adult literacy programmes in Nigeria.
Limitations of study
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Assessment: The action of assessing someone or something.
Government: Is a means by which organizational policies are enforced, as well as a mechanism for determining policy.
Adult literacy: Is a practice in which adults engage in systematic and sustained self-educating activities in order to gain new forms of knowledge and skills.
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