1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Before examining the study at hand, it is portent to reflect our minds to the meaning of the concept of literacy and its origin in Nigeria. Literacy as a concept brings up many ideas with varying degree of charity in the many people. The term literacy is commonly taken to mean the art of reading, writing or those about to read and write. But to those in the taken for granted category, literacy is inherently problematic and potentially elusive, literacy can be seen as a basic communication skills that enables an individual to extent the range of his contact well beyond his immediate environment.
Mass literacy has long been argued to be a necessary but not sufficient condition for sustained development to take place and there is an extensive literature on the problems of increasing literacy rates. The world now has almost one billion adult as its illiterates and over 95% of these are to be found in the developing countries. Disproportionate numbers of illiterates are females, from poor households and members of minority groups within their own countries in absolute numbers. China and India have the most illiterate as a result of their large population, profiles of illiteracy rates by age group and sex have proved slow to change over time though overall level of literacy have improved considerably.Historically the modern foundation of adult education in Nigeria had its root laid by the British in Levi after World War II that brought the need to extend education to large number of Nigerians. This leads to the setting up of colonial secretary advisory committee in 1944 with the intention of considering the best approach to the problems of mass literacy and adult education. Their suggestions gave intelligent guidelines for the development of adult education and literacy education in the British dependencies. They stressed the need for a more generalized system of education with the interest of the British government showed in the direction of providing some sort of adult literacy education to the masses various experiments were embarked upon with the view to establishing and promoting adult literacy education to the various communities.
A practical manifestation of this interest was that the colonial administration started to encourage the local people and arouse their interest in establishing evening classes. Furthermore efforts to provide functional literacy stemmed from the report of the UNESCO world conference of education ministers at Teheran in 1965 in which Nigeria participated. The recent world conference on education for all called for reduction in the adult literacy levels to one half of the existing values. UNESCO, definitions of functional literacy is that “a person is functionally literate who can engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning of his group and community and also for enabling him to continue to use reading, writing and calculation form his own and the community development”.
There remains problem in translating this simple definition into practice. Two principals methods have been advocated self assessment (e.g. though consensus questioning) and the use of standardize literacy test. Indirect self assessment methods carry a high risk of error and over reporting, particularly when carried out using untrained interview. In many surveys the ability to read aloud from newspaper is used as a criterion though this may not indicate comprehension other use the ability of the respondents to write their names as the criteria. Some assessments include basic numerous as an integral part, but practice on this is inconsistent. At the most unreliable level respondents are asked “can you read and write?” with no capability to tes6t the veracity of the response or differentiate levels of facility. Literacy may be defined in a mother tongue or I a national language and this is like to affect the number of illiterate identified. Direct method that involves standardized testing is expensive to administer and also suffer from problems of reliability and validity. Wagner (1990) proposes new approaches to assessment which employs both direct and indirect measures of literacy, attempts to differentiate level of facility and recognizes the context in which literacy is acquired and used.
UNESCO had developed a series of concepts which illustrates some of the shifting approaches that have been employed in literate. Some of the employed in literacy project. Those include fundament education, community development, and universal literacy. Work oriented literacy and cultural literacy. However, according to Jones (1990) none of these have stayed in place long enough to have acquires an adequate theoretical grounding. In reality, many of the assertions made in the literature about relationships between literacy and development are hypothesis for which there may be circumstantial evidence but no rigorous justification while it is generally accepted that literacy is a necessary condition for access to ideas from the wider world and that “modernization in attitudes and disposition is closely associated with the possession of literacy more specific relationships have proved difficult to unravel. This is partly because literacy is a social construction and is significantly in determining and being determined by the prevailing social order, Oxenham (2016). It is being increasingly recognized that literacy is a relative construct and is in the practice context dependent. Global definitions therefore appear both elusive and unattainable (Winchester 1990). The implication is that literacy programmes need clear objectives that are grounded in different socio-economic context and the criteria for improvement are unlikely to be universal, or if they are they will be at the lowest level of cross cultural generalization.
Clients in adults’ literacy vary very largely and this fact is a control focus in the present study to assess their performance. Since the project at hand is aimed at identifying factors affecting the performance of participants in adult literacy programmes in Udu local government area. It will be of great benefit to the government as its findings will enable or enhance educational administrators and adult education. Udu local government purse is located in Delta State. Thus the local government is characterized by linguistic variation resulting in one dialect which tends to affect the unity and subsequent introduction of literacy programmes. A great proportion of it is covered with water and grass land with thick orchard bushes. Educationally, it has many primary and post primary institutions.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
Adult literacy in Udu local government is provided in English language, supervisors and instructors sometimes have to use direct translation to clarify the meaning of words and statement. Over the years, since the organization of adult literacy classless in the local government, farmers, traders, small scale businessmen and women have displayed enthusiasm through their participation in literacy classes. Although enthusiasm is evident, one does not know the extent to which the learning of the participant has been effective. It is noted however, that many factors including participant’s occupations, amount of time sacrificed, social responsibilities and dialect spoken may have effect on the performance in the literacy programme.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The question which arises is therefore:
1. How do participants in adult literacy programme in Udu local government area perform in their studies?
2. Do you think the performances of adult in the literacy programme are satisfactory?
3. Do you think the performances are poor?
4. What factors are likely to affect the performance of participants in the programmes?
5. Do you think finance is a major problem that affects the performance of adults in the programmes?
6. In what way can supervisors intervene to improve participant’s level of performance giving the facilities available to them?
1.4 PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of study it so find out through the research at hand the possible factors affecting the performance of participants in adult literacy classes in Udu local government area. This is to say the purpose of the study was to determine the factors affecting the performance of adult in the programmes with special references to:
i. Financing the programme
ii. Availability of qualified staff.
iii. The application of teaching aids in teaching
iv. The planning and administration of the programme
v. Literacy and development
vi. Literacy and language
vii. Strategies to promote literacy
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is limited to Udu local government area of Delta State.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of great benefit to students in the field of adult education as its reviews will broaden their knowledge on suitable methods to handle adult learners.
1.7 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Adult participant: A learner who attends literacy class to receive lesson.
Adult instructor: A person who teachers adult participants in literacy classes
LGA:Local Government Area.
Adult education: Provision and utilization of facilities where by these who are no longer participants in the full-time school system may learn at any period in their lives.
Adult educator: One who is involved in teaching of adults or in the organization and administration of education of adults.
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