Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education

Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education

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 CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the study

Mass literacy is a part of adult literacy education. According to Ugwegbe (2003) “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, (2002). ”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.”

Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education

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 2002).

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Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education

Adult and non-formal education as defined by United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2007). 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.

Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education

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.

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Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education

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 2007). 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.

Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education

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.

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Achieving the Goals of Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education

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.

 

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