Adult Education Program – Factors Militating Against It

Adult Education Program – Factors Militating Against It

Adult Education Program – Factors Militating Against It

Adult education programme are activities geared towards educating adults in every country. There are associations and organizations that promote adult education in the world.

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These are groups or organizations can be distinguished into two: governmental and non-governmental bodies. The last two centuries to be precise in the middle of the 19th century ago in the adult education programme in the world. Roman Catholic Church made a bold stride with the formation of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)A IN Paris in 1855).

According to Eya et al (2001), this became indisputably one of the early pioneers of adult education in the international circle. The aim of (YMCA) was the development of the whole man-mind, body ad spirit. The church believed that an educated person should be able to take care of his body in order to be healthy so as to read and understand the scriptures for his spirited growth. This philosophy become the underlining force for the activities of these missionaries.

The need to get every individual prompted the formation of the women counterparts in 1892, the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). Both associations remained the architect of international adult education for a very long time and they fit into non-governmental organization.

The first every worldwide step was made in 1918 with the formation of the World Association for Education founded in Britain. It is otherwise known as t he Adult Education which held its first international conference in adult education in Cambridge in 1929. Apart from the global sphere, there are those international organization of adult education which are regional, for example, the African Association for Literacy Adult education with its seat in Nairobi and those that are national, the National Association of Adult Education and even Some Charitable institutions and Clubs like the People’s Club in Nigeria, yet there are continental interest in the North, South East and West.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is an example which strives to promote the education of the adults through its agencies. There are also inter-governmental organizations which have interest in adult education. For example, Nigeria and Cameroon may come together to promote adult education. On the global scale, the organization of adult education came in the form of those that have adult education as their exclusive concern, those in which adult education form an important part of their work and those in which there are some educational content in their work. Other global associations relevant in this study are the International Council for Correspondence Education (IICE) founded in 1938. international Federation of Education workers Association (1947), International Congress of University Adult Education (1960), International Council for Adult Education (1972) among others.

Regionally, we have some inter-governmental organization such as the African Adult Education Association such as the African Association for Literacy and Adult Education, Association and South Pacific, Bureau of Adult Education, European Bureau of Adult Education, Federation Canadian Association for Adult Education. All these organizations through journals, newsletters, seminars, conferences and worship train practioners and educators of Adult education.

They in turn contribute to the development of human resources through building and strengthening self-reliant organizations in the field of literacy and adult education. They also aim at achieving participatory programme of activities, identification and involvement of various development oriented groups, mobilization of resources, taking initiative and leadership positions addressing new topical issues of concern as they affect adult education programmes.

In 1985, the Director General of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Mr. Amadou Mahter M boin announced during the World Conference of Ministers of Education on eradication of illiteracy in Terran, that 18th September every year being declared international/national literacy day celebration.

According to Dr Alumode B.E. (2002: P. 113) UNESCO campaign for mass literacy arouse of the Nigeria’s interest in Adult and non-formal education.

According to Mereni and Osuala (1989: 99), Adult education as a process by which men and women seek to improve themselves or their society by increasing their skill and their sensitivities or any process by which individuals, groups or institutions try to help men and women to improve their ways.

Though, the Federal Government enthusiastically accepted the Ashby report, there was a major criticism of the report: even tough Echer and Leidholm (1970) declared that the report issued at the time of independence won wide acclaim and acceptance throughout the nation.

Ayila and Onitiri (ed) (1971) pointed out that both Ashby report and the white paper has nothing to say on adult literacy an adult education for masses.

The decision to offer and propagate the programme for mass literacy was accepted by the federal government and officially launched in Nigeria on 8th September, 1982. it was also translated to and launched in the former Anambra state on 29th October 1984, all geared towards the implementation of the National Policy on Education. According to Alumode (2002), National Policy on Education does not separate mass literacy and adult education from non-formal education. According to Eya et al (2001) in 1977 the National Policy on Education (NPE) was established and has been revised twice in 1981 and 1998. the special significance to the study in the NPE is the formulation objective for adult, non-formal education.

According to the policy (1998: 36), mass literacy, Adult and non-formal education encompass all of functional education given to youths and adults outside the formal school system such as functional literacy, remedial and vocational education. Others include continuing education aesthetic, cultural and civic education.

In view of the laudable programme that the nation embarked on in order to eradicate illiteracy in the country. Adult education being part of the literacy programme was introduced in Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State in the year 1996 with Mathias O. as the organizer. But it has been observed that the effect of the great programme for the nation has no yet received the expected attention from the rural populace of Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

In addition, there are political problems and also problem of low level of education among rural adults. Its effects often parochial outlook life conservation and recreationary tendencies among people of Ezza-North Local Government area.

According to President Obasanjo (1990: 18), no matter how well a nation might be endowed by nature, the attitude of the people is a major thing in their progress or retrogress. It is because of the observation an also the importance of adult-education that the research deemed it necessary to research on the factors militating against the programme in Ezza-North Local Government Area.

The factors militating against adult education n Ezza-North Local Government Area has posed serious problems on the part of both participants, instructors and the organizers, since the introduction of adult education in Ezza-North Local Government Area. It has not received the much expected much attention from the populace of Ezza-North Local Government. Some of the existing adult education centers in Ezza-North local government area such as UPE Ebije center, CPS Okposi center, CPC Umuome center to mention but few are not functioning properly due to the factors militating against adult education programme.

The ineffectiveness or poor response to adult education centers in Ezza-North local government area is what the research wants to investigate and possibly suggest solutions, to the problem in order to forge ahead to make the great programme initiated by the federal government a huge success.

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The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors militating against adult education in Ezza-North local government area of Ebonyi State, in terms of inadequate response and lack of its national outlook in Ezza-North local government area in particular. It is also geared towards ascertaining the effectiveness of the organization in Ezza-North.

Finally, the study is to make useful suggestions and recommendation towards the improvement of the existing standard and thereby helping to eliminate the factors militating against adult education in Ezza-North local government area of Ebonyi State.


Following the need for mass literacy campaign which the federal government launched in this country and that education is a life-long process programme that started in the cradle and end in the grave. The researcher has embarked on this study because of its importance. In Ezza-North local government area, modern ways of dressing, building houses, agriculture and forms of learning are in use today which is of improvement on the socio-economic and political life of the people of Ezza-North local government area has made the cost of living standard and its importance to human existence. Various other importance are abolition of primitive practices like case of slavery, killing of twins, ostracism and plundering of the property of minorities got stop or was no more in practice because of the knowledge they have acquired. It will serve as reference point for other researchers that would like to write on the same topic in future. It will add to the existing knowledge and it will also contribute to the advancement of knowledge and social activities in Nigeria.


For the purpose of this stud, the following questions will be addressed:

i. Are there enough people attending Adult Education classes?

ii. Is there enough government support for Adult Education?

iii. What is the level of performance in Adult Education?

iv. What is the population of those attending Adult Education classes?

v. Are there enough teaches for Adult Education programme?





Education is an ancient enterprise designed to be the vehicle of social change, it is found the highest overall development of self, culture and society.

Lowe (1975) notes that adult education is seen by many developing countries as an instrument for promoting and regulating social changes rather than consumption. By this position, adult education in those countries is meant to enable their citizens to acquire skill competencies which they need to live and work in this modern society. It is obviously a well known fact that in every country, that citizens are also included, men and women who live in a particular country to improve their own knowledge and environment through educational activities.

According to Houle (1964), adult education is a process by which men and women either alone or in group who attempt to improve themselves by bringing about changes in their understanding, skill, or sensitivities.

Greenough (1972) sees adult education as a process whereby persons who no longer attend school on a regular or full time basis can pursue organized studies or activities to develop their knowledge and skill and so become equipped to perform roles in their societies in more or a less creative or critical fashion so that they can be of greater use to themselves, their families and to the community. To buttress the above point, it is true that not everybody in the country has the opportunity to attend the early school programme and in a situation whereby illiterate citizens are more than literate ones, there is every tendency that the country will face a very serious problem of lack of personnel and economic problems as well as backwardness in terms of human and material resources advancement because of the caliber of people who make hardly cope with the modernization of activities of the society an aims as a result of their level of education, that is why adult education has been considered very necessary among those who did not attend regular school programme in their early age in a more elaborate way.

Liveright and haygood (eds) (1969) see adult education as a process by persons who no longer attend school at the regular and full time basis undertake sequential and organized activities with the conscious intention of bringing about changes in information, knowledge, understanding, skills, appreciation and attitudes or for the purpose of identifying an solving personal and community problem. So, this programme of adult education ahs helped the people of this country very well in terms of providing them with remedial education that has to do with providing education for people (learner) who are suffering from disadvantages such as lack of opportunity as well as functional literacy of any formal education. Therefore literacy has to do with the ability to read and write as well to operate with numbers.

According to Fafunwa Babs, adult (education) literacy started in Nigeria during the colonial era in the early 1950s “one of the early pioneers of adult literacy and community development in Nigeria was Mr. E.R. (Chadwick, the district officer in Udi division in Eastern Nigeria) who organized literacy classes on market days with the assistance of local teachers. He also involved village heads and leaders in community projects and organized inter-village competition in an attempt to stimulate greater community activities. His efforts were recorded I the early 1950s in a popular film called Dayback in Udi “Fafunwa Babs’ History of Education in Nigeria 1974”.

This great attempt was not given much attention because in Nigeria before the civil war, adult education was seen as mere waste of human and material resources. The Nigerian society say it as trying to bend an old dry wood; because adults (as it was assumed) cannot learn new ideas, principles and adaptations. Thus adults wee disregarded in the scheme of education while all efforts were directed towards children’s educational welfare because, they are regarded as the only future leaders of the country. This view was held by the vast majority of our people until 1966 when an interim committee was formed by the society known as Nigerian National Council for Adult Education with Professor E.A Tagbiyele as its first chairman. However, that society was unable to make any significant impact on the area of adult education in this country due to the Nigeria civil war of 1967 to 1970 till 1971 when Professor Tagbiyele chairman of the interim steering committee summoned a National Conference on this subject matter titled “Adult Education, Key to National unity and development3 ibid at Lagos. This was followed by subsequent conferences of 1972 held at Ahmadu Belloh University, Zaria and the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1973 respectively. The resultant effect of these conferences was the setting up of a taskforce to prepare a comprehensive proposal for National Adult Education to be included in the Nigeria’s Third National Development Plan. The work of this body – the taskforce ad its submission to the Federal Government in October 1973 and the inauguration of mass literacy campaign by the federal Government of Nigeria in 1982 brought a new dimension in the annual adult education on may of our educators. This is due to the realization of the importance of adult education to Nigeria’s political, economic ad social progress. Adult education is an instrument for promoting changes in adult population and in society. It enlightens them in electing the right type of people to represent them in government and prepares them to exercise their rights, duties and responsibilities a citizens of a given society. In the view of Anyanwu (1987), he described change highlighting the role of the adult population in community or national development, because in the context of any community or country, it is not the children but the adults who hold in their hands the destiny of the society. It enables men and women to think more clearly and make appropriate choice between alternatives. Furthermore, it has been observed that most developed nations of the world such as the United Kingdom, United States of America came to greatness through mass literacy. According to National Policy on Education (1998: 36), mass literacy, adult and non-formal education encompass all forms of functional education given to youths and adults outside the formal school system such as functional literacy, remedial and vocational education. Others include continuing education, aesthetics, cultural and civic education. So adult education programmes have obviously contributed to the transformation of human life and environment . 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 skills that are needed for self reliance a national development. Adult education is capable of mobilizing human resources in society to work towards desirable change, this is because adult education is capable of preparing adult to expand their communication skill, develop flexibility among them, improve their human relations, facilitate the development of the spirit of patriotism among them and enhance their personal growth. This is possible to achieve because adult education has several forms types of education each performing some function for manpower development as well as national development. These include the following: formal adult education, fundamental adult education, liberal adult education and occupational adult education. Simply put, education is an emancipation itself which the importance cannot be overemphasized. The truth of these facts can be seen in the statements of Olagunu represented the Commissioner of Education Oyo State, during the report of activities for international day of Oyo State, described illiteracy (as an evil enemy of any economic progress, an evil which keeps people in darkness, binding them to tradition and superstition).

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Monye (1980), in a paper presented to the N.N.C.A.E on the occasion of the society’s tenth anniversary titled Nigeria development plan and adult education, said education is therefore very important in the life of the individual because it prepares him to improve himself so that he would be relevant to his society. To buttress this point, he said that education must take cognisance of the problems and needs of the society and train the individual along lines so that he may contribute his quota towards achievement of these objectives. Quoting Professor Lalage Brown, he warned that all of us would be doomed to be out of date every twenty years or so unless we keep learning and unless we are able to adjust our attitude and ideas to the changes in our environment, an so, before a child who becomes a material or asset, for the society, he needs to be nurtured, and adjusted by literate adults who is well equipped by educational programme or training through which a child under him or her will be developed by observation, imitation and participation, in order to build up the environment of the society, according to Ugwoegbu (1992:2), a child started learning by observing the adults, do what ever he does, in the absence of the adult, the tendency is for he child to try to imitate what the adult did and finally he starts to participate effectively in such an activity. Therefore, when there is effective participation in development plan programme, change must take place and development of any society these days is too much technical to achieve even a little without educated people According to Eke (1972), a one time Commissioner for Education in Nigeria realised the importance of adult education when he said that there is little we can achieve in our development plans without due attention being paid to adult education, stressing further on that, Monye observed that adult education has an advantage over formal system type of education, because investment in it produces quick returns and this is so, since the adult is already making some contribution to the social and economic life in his society. The National Policy on Education does not separate literacy and adult education from non-formal education. In the same vein, the policy (1998:36), mass literacy, adult and non-formal education encompass all form of functional education given to youths and adult outside the formal school system such as functional literacy remedial ad vocational education e.t.c. Furthermore, Monye also said that the quickest way to increase productivity is to train the adults who are already in the job. However, adult education becomes an important source of manpower development. According to Eya, Ugwu and Alu (2001: 66), occupational adults education enables workers to improve their working efficiency so as to increase their productivity. It helps learners to apply their new knowledge and skill to solve their basic economic and social problem, integrate industrial development of society and leads to increase in manpower output, not all, the aim of the programme is to upgrade thoe who wish to become proficient in their vocations especially those who are in regular employment. It is largely enshrined in the skill of people to largely solve their own problems with their own wisdom, experience and resources with view to eliminate poverty, disease and ignorance. Taba (1962) noted that historically, the American people have assumed education as the power to reduce poverty and distress to prevent child delinquency and crime an to promote the well being of the individual, the intelligent use of suffrage and the welfare and stability of the state. It is well known fact that where there is general acceptable quality or standard of education in the state or in any society, other things are added because in situations where everybody is educated both men and women, it means that everybody is developed and self reliant especially adults, through their adult education programme which brings about change in the skill, knowledge and attitude irrespective of their age for the interest of the society at large. Alhaji Billy Amin Usman, Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of Education represented Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the then President of Nigeria in an address presented to N.N.C.A.E on the occasion of the societies with the conference in 1980 at Yankari Games Reserve noted “it is after all, the adult who feel the urgent preserve of change and who in order to cope with it must himself grow and change in knowledge, skills and attitude. It is on the capacity of the adult to do this, that our entire technological development. As he puts it “No matter how many engineers we have, chemical, electrical, metallurgy or what have you, unless we also have an army of skilled workers to operate the blast furnaces, drive the bulldozer, install the plumbing programme, the computer and cultivate the land scientifically, we cannot advance either industrially, agriculturally or economically. Moreover, we cannot afford to wait till our children are grown. Nigeria has to go ahead now” he concluded. Sincerely, it is encouraged or advised and appreciateable to establish the programme that will help to build the nation or contribute their own quota of ideas to the nation building, as many people did not have the opportunity to attend school while they were children. Adult education is an important programme in any society.

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Greenough (1972) sees adult education as a process whereby persons who no longer attend schools on a regular and full time basis can pursuer organised studies or activities to develop their knowledge and skill and so, become equipped to perform roles in their societies in more or a less creative or critical fashion so that they can be of greater use to themselves, their families and to the community. In this circumstance, it is always sometime being caused by poverty as well as those in the rural areas where there is almost absence of wealthy men and well-trained people in all parts of the area. Alhaji Ibrahim Mansanawa7 representing the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Kaduna State in a paper to the occasion of N.N.C.A.E enumerated some of the impending obstacles militating against the progress on adult education among the acute impediments, those we encounter on the national level which include lack of sufficient funds available for running effectively, the planned programme in the states, coupled with this is the fact that, we do not have enough competent staff for carrying out the gigantic programme. Concluding, he emphasised that it is only the federal government that can duly tackle these problem of fund and competent staff facing work in the field of adult education in the country. So, there many steps taken by the federal government of Nigeria in conjunction with the state government in order to solve the problem and forge ahead with the programme and create enabling environment. According to Eya, Ugwu and Alu (2001: 125), disclosed that, federal and some states ministries of education as well as local government education departments plan and administer adult education programmes. Furthermore, the teaching, learning processes are handled by the school system within the 6-3-3-4 education system, not all, the federal and state ministries also employ the services of the Nigerian educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) in the area of curriculum development ad research. The federal and state ministries and division as well as local government education departments that involve themselves in the organisation and administration of adult education include: Federal Minisry of Education , Adult Education Division: 1 primary and adult section: 2 National Language Centre, Vocational and Non-formal section. However, government does not delay in providing what it requires to solve the problem, no matter that amount of money that is realty involved because of the important roles it ahs been playing in eradicating illiteracy by giving opportunity to those who no longer attend school or who did not attend school at their early age as a result of one problem or the other, to become literate and train their children wisely for the interest of society at large. According to Wigwe Felix, one time commissioner for education in Rivers State in his opening address on the 14th Annual Conference of the Nigeria National Council for Adult Education (1985), he said that “this nation can no longer afford to entrust the nature and upbringing of her youth to the hands of illiterate and ignorant adults. Such destructive ills as drunkenness, drug abuse and examination malpractices, which happens to characterise the life-style of our youths on a large scale, have their roots of poor leadership by illiterate parents and adult of the children and wards. This situation that must be remedied and averted with dispatch “and something that will help people to solve the problem must be there as the solution to the problem of those parents who did not attend school or dropout from the school in order to create enabling environment in the society, so that change can manifest or take place for the interest of people. It is obviously known that parents are adults who lay various roles in different families both technical non-technical ones that need intellectual or educational help. Before they will be solved, therefore, it is worthy to note that the education of adult is as important as the education of the children. Adult education is sine qua non in teaching adaptation to changes to the adult members of society. According to Eya, Ugwu, Alu (2001: 54), adult education assumes significant importance in the sense that the education of children become difficult if not impossible in a society of illiterate parents. Thus the education of children and that of the adult is complementary. According to Anyanwu (1987), children’s primary education –a primordial objective cannot be dissociated from their parents educational level. S.C. Egerega8 in his own contribution stressed that adult unlike children, wants to see the immediate results of their efforts. He also described adult education as a work-oriented programme which should be carefully worked out and closely woven around the occupation of the learners. “All the farmers and their wives study should be related with what they use or do or come across everyday while engaging in productive labour”.

From the above statements, it can be seen that one of the major problems facing adult education in Nigeria is attributable to poor or narrow conception.

Another noticeable problem is that we have not started to differentiate the beneficiaries of the scheme according to their situation in life. In this respect therefore, for adult education to become truly meaningful, for ordinary adult illiterate citizens of Nigeria, the Nigerian National Council for Adult Education should try to see that laws are made to ensure that large firms and companies have it as part of their welfare scheme that all workers especially the lower skilled and unskilled ones attain a satisfactory level of literacy. This implies that the knowledge, skill s and motivation of the human resources of a nation are significant condition for its national development. This moved Todaro (1977) to remark that literate farme rs with at least a primary six education are thought to be more productive and more responsible to new agricultural technologies than illiterate farmers. Necessarily, man is an agent of development and as such must first be developed so that he becomes a subject and not passive object of the development process. In this way companies can train their staff not only to perform better in their jobs, but also keep them to attain a level of functional literacy that will make them useful to themselves and the society at large. It should be noted therefore that ignorance on the part of illiterate adults on the value of education that education is for self-actualisation, family needs and effective social participation in the field of economic, social and political growth of a nation is a great setback in the process of mass literacy in the country.

Suleman Salang presenting a paper titled “making ourselves felt more” during the occasion of ten years of adult education in Nigeria said, no matter how laudable our programme and intention, unless we are assured of steady finance, all our efforts will merely be glorified wishes. He also observed that Matcolin S. Adise-Shiaha, once said that, it is not sufficient that students and tutor engage in adult education are rewarded with feeling of doing worthwhile work. The benefit must be felt out and where possible qualified.

Adult Education Program – Factors Militating Against It

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