ACHIEVING THE GOALS OF MASS LITERACY, ADULT AND NON-FORMAL EDUCATION IN AKWA IBOM STATE (CASE STUDY OF UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA)
This research investigated the goals of mass literacy, adult and non-formal education in Akwa Ibom State, A case study of Uyo Local Government Area. The population of this study was 2016 formal adult learners and 3278 non-formal adult and youth vocational workers in Uyo Local Government Area. The sample size was 100 formal adult learners the sample size was selected using stratified random sampling technique. Three research questions were formulated. A fifteen itemed questionnaire entitled “Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy Questionnaire (AGMLQ)”. The data collected were analyzed using mean and simple percentages. The findings, showed that: government has provided functional literacy for adults and youths and that the Akwa Ibom State Government has not provided sufficient and effective vocational training for adult learners who want to learn non-formally in Uyo Local Government Area.
Based on the findings, it was recommended that government should from time to time supervise and evaluate adult centres to ascertain whether they are operating in accordance with the goals of mass literacy, adult and non-formal education, the government should employ more trained facilitators that would help facilitate Adult education program, Government and adult education agents should mobilize the citizens in order to erase their perception about adult education and also, more vocational centres should be established in the area for effective implementation of vocational education training programmes.
Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy Adult and Non-Formal Education
1.1 Background to the study
Mass literacy is a part of adult literacy education. According to Ugwegbe (2013) “Literacy is traditionally understood as the ability to read, write and use arithmetic” but the modern meaning of literacy has been expanded to include “the ability to use language, numbers, images, computers and other basic means to understand, communicate, and gain useful knowledge and the dominant symbol systems of culture”. If every person in a given society or country is literate, it would be needless talking about mass literacy let alone the mass literacy campaign that is on-going in Nigeria.
Literacy efforts began informally in Nigeria through the activities of Itinerant Islamic scholars and traders, the Christian missions and the freed slaves about the middle of the 19th century Aderinoye, (2012). ”In Nigeria like in other parts of the world… a person 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 attainment in reading, writing and arithmetic make it possible for him to continue to use these skills towards his own and the country’s development and for active participation in the life of his country.”
Literacy education becomes a mass literacy campaign when offered to the masses of people. And the primary purpose of mass literacy campaign in Nigeria is to enable every illiterate citizen to acquire skills of reading, writing and numeracy that will help him to function in his environment. This is intended to liberate him from the limitations imposed on his thoughts and his actions by illiteracy. The illiteracy rate in Nigeria is so alarming and it is an impending illness of her citizens. Nigeria then cleaves to seeking solutions to the problems posed by illiteracy. Towards seeking for solutions, the government in Nigeria identified itself with the efforts at eradicating illiteracy by launching a mass literacy campaign in 1944 and September 1982 (Aderinoye 2012).
Adult and non-formal education as defined by United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2017). Adult and non-formal education is more than literacy or remedial education to “fill the gap”. It is something people need and want as long as they are alive and regardless of the amount of their previous education. It is therefore an integral part of any modern country’s educational system. What the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) refers here is to clear the misconception in the minds of people who think that adult and non-formal education is restricted, to literacy and remedial education to fill the gap. Adult education is needful for all categories of people starting from 18 years and above regardless of your previous education and position attained in the society. It is a lifelong process as long as man’s existence.
Adult literacy cannot be left out when talking about mass literacy, adult and non-formal education. An adult in this case is someone, in the Nigerian context, who is mentally, physically, socially and psychologically mature and who is able to manage his own affairs. Adult literacy therefore has to do with the ability of an individual adult (man or woman) to read, write and communicate in known languages, as well as the ability to do basic Mathematical computations far beyond basic literacy level. In simple terms, adult literacy is a tool that can equip the individual to improve himself intellectually, to empower himself economically and to make himself socially and politically relevant.
If adult literacy is considered as a tool and its component also put into consideration which are; reading, writing, mathematics, English as a second or other language (ESOL) and cultural literacy, the goals of mass literacy, adult and non-formal education will be achieved with ease. Adult literacy is divided into two; basic adult literacy and functional literacy programmes (Ezimah, 2004). The reasons for greater emphasis on adult literacy at present are glaring, especially with the global attention and policy statement encapsulated in Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education for All (EFA) goals. It is evident that adult citizens are more actively involved in national development, transformation agenda and the Millennium Development Goals.
Hence, this category of citizens deserves serious attention so that they cannot only contribute to the socio-economic and political growth of the nation but also to improve their welfare and life expectancy. Also, adult literacy program where it is well planned and effectively implemented would motivate knowledge-hungry adults to aspire to greater heights in academics and vocational training; a situation that ultimately engenders lifelong education.
Finally, adult literacy is intended to help its recipients to be gainfully employed and earn higher income and higher status. In fact, it should help its beneficiaries to make use of the computer, internet and e-mail for more information and connections. This is why adult literacy is important and works hand-in-hand with mass literacy, adult and non-formal education. Mass literacy, adult and non-formal education is said to be education for the masses and all forms of functional education given to youths and adults outside the formal school system (UNESCO 2017). It has its clearly stated goals according to the national policy on education (2004):
To provide functional and continuing education for adults and youths who have never had the advantage of formal education and who did not complete their primary education, to provide functional and remedial education for those young people who did not complete secondary education, to provide education for different categories of non-completers of formal education system, to provide in-service, on-the-job, vocational and professional training for different categories of workers and professionals and to give the adult citizens of the country the necessary aesthetics, cultural and civic education for public enlightenment.
After the launching of mass literacy campaign in 1944 and September, 1982 by the colonial and post-independence government of Nigeria, the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education was established in 1990 by Decree 17 Nwafor & Agi (2013).
The commission is responsible for the organization, monitoring and assessment of the adult literacy practices in the country. Also, it is noted that the various state governments in Nigeria have also established the Adult and Non-formal Education Agencies (ANFEA). These agencies are expected to serve as instruments for eradication of illiteracy as well as provision of functional literacy. Specific roles are assigned to these agencies which include: programme development, recruitment of instructors and other personnel, as well as the enrollment of adult learners and the general facilities of learning.
Furthermore, a blue print for the eradication of mass illiteracy was developed in 1990 and revised in 2008. The blueprint reflects our national development priorities, the interests of different stakeholders and the identified needs and demands of learners.
One of the roles of Adult and Non-formal Education Agencies is programme development run by the commission or agencies which include; adult basic literacy, literacy by radio, girl-child education, out-of-school youth education, Qur’anic Integrated education, women vocational education, workers’ education and a host of other programs designed to eradicate illiteracy and empower the citizens for increased productivity and national development (Nwafor and Agi 2013). Therefore, the researcher on this note wants to investigate the extent which the state government has achieved the goals of Mass Literacy, Adult and non-formal Education in Akwa Ibom State, A case study of Uyo Local Government Area.
Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy Adult and Non-Formal Education
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Adult literacy is a part of adult education component of the National Policy on Education (2004). The goals of adult education are clearly spelt out, one of them is;
To provide functional and continuing education for adults and youths who never had the advantage of formal education or did not complete primary education. These include the nomads, migrant families, the disabled and other categories or groups.
According to Nwafor & Agi (2013), this lofty and laudable goal is yet to receive attention it deserves in Nigeria. They noted that there are many illiterate adults and youths who dropped out of school, but who need opportunities to improve themselves through adult literacy programs. Unfortunately, provisions are made in some cases where such programs are available, while in most cases, especially the rural areas, adult education programs are totally absent in Nigeria.
Also, adult literacy component of the Universal Basic Education has been silent; nothing is being set or done by government. It is observed that there is general apathy towards the implementation of adult literacy programs, because government in the federation tends to favour formal education but at the same time they pay lip-service to adult literacy/education. Pulate (2008) observed that in spite of the importance of vocational education/training to the development of both individuals and the society at large, there is no much emphasis placed on the effective implementation of vocational education/training program in Nigeria.
Similarly, Dokubo & Dokubo (2013) maintained that the challenges militating against the provision of vocational training programs are many. In support of this statement, Onwusonye (2005) said that insufficient finance, staff training, lack of facilities and brain drains are realistic and practical factors inhibiting the implementation of vocational education/training program in Nigeria.
However, no such work carried out in Akwa Ibom State particularly in Uyo Local Government Area has been known to the researcher. This therefore motivated the researcher to investigate on Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education in Akwa Ibom state, a case study of Uyo Local Government Area.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which the Akwa Ibom state government has achieved the goals of mass literacy, adult and Non-formal education. Specifically, the study sought to:
- Find out whether the state government effort has been able to provide functional literacy for adults and youths.
- Examine what provision the state government has made to provide has the state government made to provide vocational education/training for adult learners in Uyo Local Government Area?
1.4 Significance of The study
- The study will help reveal to the government whether mass literacy, adult and non-formal education goals stated in the National Policy on Education has been achieved.
- The result of the study will also expose to the government and the agencies of adult education the place of vocational education/training in Akwa Ibom state
- It will expose to the facilitators the effort they have put in to propagate the success of adult literacy
- It is also hoped that the result of the study will help other researchers in further research work and motivate them on other similar research topic in other state of the federation.
Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy Adult and Non-Formal Education
1.5 Research Questions
- To what extent has the state government provided functional literacy for adults and youths Uyo Local Government Area?
- What provision has the state government made to provide vocational education/training for adult learners in Uyo Local Government Area?
1.6 Limitations of the Study
In the course of conducting the research, the researcher encountered some challenges. These were in the area of finance and location of adult centres. The researcher was not financially buoyant enough, and found it not with ease to locate adult centres in the different clans of Uyo Local Government Area
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
The study was delimitated to the investigation of four (4) adult centres in the four clans of Uyo Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom state which are
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Adult: An adult refers to someone who is mentally, physically, socially and psychologically mature to handle his own affairs.
Adult Literacy: This refers to the ability of an individual adult (man or woman) to read, write, compute numeracy and communicate in known languages.
Adult Education: This is an education for adults to upgrade the level of education, knowledge, skills and values in formal or non-formal settings.
Non-formal Education: It is any organized educational activity that takes place outside the conventional school system with no specific target group.
Informal Education: Informal education is an education that goes on in daily life and can be receive from daily experiences such as those from the family, friends, visits to museums, peer groups and the person’s environment.
Mass Literacy: It is the ability for a large number of people to be able to read, write, calculate simple arithmetic and communicate in known languages.
Lawson Peter – Chief Editor in Projectvilla Nigeria. A writer and academic researcher.