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This research work was on the factorsmotivating the participation of women in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area of Enugu State.To carry out the study effectively, six research questions and two null hypotheses were posed. Some of them are: 1. What are the economic factors motivating women’s participation in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area? 2. What are the education factors motivating women’s participation in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area? Also, this study reviewed some literature that related to the research work. The population for the study is 816 registered women learners in adult education programmes in Oji-River Local Government Area of Enugu State. The major instrument used for data collection was a FMWPALPQQuestionnaire with 36 items. Among the major findings are: 1. thatthe greatest education factors motivating women’s participation in adult literacy programme are obtaining certificate for a better job, becoming literate, and improvement on communicative skills; 2. that the greatest psychological factors motivating women’s participation in adult literacy programme are being respected in the family and society, boosting of ego in the society, occupying higher positions of authority in the society, and overcoming inferiority complex. Based on the findings of the study, recommendations were proffered. Some of them are: 1. that Enugu State Agency for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education, in conjunction with Commission for Women Affairs, should embark on a realistic and holistic campaign for women’s education, emphasizing that age is no barrier to education. 2. that adult education administrators, supervisors, co-ordinators and other people involved in the provision of adult education programmes should ensure that the time and venue for the adult education programmes are conducive and friendly to the female adult learners. Finally, suggestions for further research were made.
Background to the Study Adult Education is the type of education that people desire and cherish as long as they exist, irrespective of the level they have attained in life. According to Reddy (2000), adult education is a part time or full-time education for men or women of all ages, either organized by themselves or provided by schools, learning centres, or other agencies which enable them to improve their general or professional knowledge, skills and abilities by either continuing their education or resuming their initial or incomplete education of previous years. Federal Republic of Nigeria, FRN (2008) stated that adult education is an integral part of education that involves a learning process or situation outside a formal school system, emphasizing all forms of functional education programmes for youth and adults outside formal school system. Such education programmes include Basic literacy programme, post-literacy programme, continuing education programme, vocational education programme. These educational programmes are all geared towards human resource development in particular and the national development in general. Adult education could also be referred to as the education programme people attend despite the levels of education they already acquired. Guodong (2003) therefore regarded adult education as broad field education, vocational and technical education, higher education and professional development, and is offered through formal, non-formal and informal education means, and by a variety of actors. He further stated that adult education is a highly dynamic field associated with innovativeness, and with values and practices once viewed as relevant and desirable. The motivation behind adult education is mainly to create a healthy and prosperous community. Adult education creates steps that the illiterates follow to improve themselves and contribute to the development of the society. It helps the illiterate citizens to acquire skills that help them to improve their standard of living. The importance of adult education in any society therefore cannot be ignored. This is because the level of illiteracy among the populace should not be allowed to continue because of national development needs. According to Obetta (1998: 21): Our economy cannot be said to have left the subsistence unless we are able to provide every human being in our land the opportunity to be able to read and write, for the modern man is not truly modern if he cannot read and sign his name. Any other approach would be as confusing and regrettable to the modern mind as the meaninglessness of the fingerprint to the illiterate who is asked to use that as the symbol of his signature. So often, we have witnessed the frustration and humiliation which are the constant companions of an illiterate in contemporary society. In view of this, there is great need to make the non-literate masses, men and women, workers and non-workers, marginalized and non-marginalized to be literate through adult education programmes. One of the objectives of adult education is to reduce the level of illiteracy in the society. In our society today, there are many people who had no access to education due to problems emanating from their poor socio-economic background. Adult education is therefore one of the means of bridging this gap. Adult education could be used to supplement the earlier education people had already acquired or could serve as an addition to what they already obtained or remedy to those who could not complete the formal educational system. This type of education is needed by workers in various spheres of life. It could be in form of in-service training or on-the-job training. According to Obetta (1998), mass education which includes within its purview adult education, whether in terms of continuing basic education – should be the order of the day both for individual’s self-actualization, for national development and for international relations. Our people should be made to understand the need for adult education especially those who were not privileged to pass through formal system of education. Okeem (1991) stated that the world is striving daily to transform into a literate entity. This brought about various literacy schemes and programmes designed to meet the universal aspiration. Changes in the economic conditions in the country have necessitated women to awake from slumber by participating actively in adult education programmes to enable them increase their productivity in money-yielding ventures. In view of this, Ohakwe (1994) opined that some women in recent times occupy important posts in various companies and some own business of their own. In the same vein, Agaba (1998) opined that the place of women in Nigeria and the world over has changed from kitchen-bound position to the assumption of important offices and responsible positions. He cited instances of women prime ministers such as Mrs.Bardaranika of Ceylon, Mrs.IndiraGandhi of India, among others. Education has played an important role in the life of women presently. In view of this, Ngwu (2003) maintained that women education becomes the instrument for their own liberation. It is also an instrument for social transformation because it attempts to construct a new society, which will conform to the interests and aspirations of the popular sectors. As it relates to the psychological factors, some women tend to enroll in adult education programme to boost their ego. According to Obeta, Omeje and Omeje (2003), the need for self-respect is strong among those people generally classified as common people. This need also motivates women to participate in adult literacy education programme and to work harder. They want to understand the changes that are going on in their society and enjoy freedom to act as socially responsible members of the community. Through adult education programmes, women have been elevated to some prominent political, social, religious and economic positions. As such, they can play leadership roles effectively in the present society because of their acquisition of political empowerment. Obetta (2004) noted that political empowerment enhances democratic and responsible governance which have effective leadership skills, decision-making strategies and a mastery of the dynamics of planned change as its components. Adult education improves family-role matters as it enables women to enhance their family economic status and provide their children with further opportunities and advantages. In the same vein, adult education programmes enable women to widen their knowledge and acquire skills for income-generation as a means of gaining the much needed economic independence. Obi (2006) affirmed that adult education programmes enable illiterate adults to improve their skills acquisition, knowledge, economic, social, psychological, family-role, educational and political roles in the society. In a rapidly developing nation as Nigeria, the present status of women’s education is still at the subsistence level. According to Eyibe (1999), the Nigerian women still lag behind their counterparts in several parts of the world in the area of education, employment, health, political participation, among others. The Nigerian government has made several efforts to improve the level of education of women in the country as can be seen in the various functional literacy programmes that have been designed to provide them with courses in family health, food and nutrition, childcare, domestic science and basic education. It can therefore be seen that a lot of adult education programmes have enabled the women to advance educationally, socially, politically, psychologically and economically. Oji-River Local Government Area has six adult literacy centres that are spread along the six communities. The communities are Oji-River town, Ugwuoba, Achi, Inyi, Awlaw and Akpugoeze. In these literacy centres, there are materials for teaching and learning. Instructors were recruited for the exercise. The learners were engaged in many learning activities such as reading and writing, skills acquisition, basic literacy, vocational education, cooperative societies, family-planning methods, primary healthcare, nutrition, water and sanitation and rural development among others in the various communities. Through adult education programmes, these women would be properly equipped with the right skills for the development of the society. Obetta (2004) stated that no meaningful development can occur without women, so the extent to which women should have enabling powers to contribute to, and benefit from development, deserve proper and prompt attention. Adult education programmes will help women immensely as they are the backbone of rural development. They are found in agriculture and outside it. In the household, they hold an unassailable preeminence tending to their children, and even their husbands. The degree of disorganization and chaos that occurs when the women are absent in their houses confirm the extent of their importance (Ijere, 1991). Ijere also maintained that from the dawn of the day till the dusk, women are involved in restless and all-consuming events. It then follows that programmes of rural transformation would be better promoted when majority of the citizenry, including women are educated. Obetta (2004) stated that it was in realization of the need to have women run their lives and become part and parcel of socio-economic and political agenda in their communities and nations that the United Nations in Mexico Conference of 1975 raised issues concerning women and development. The ultimate goal was to empower women to develop their potentials and contribute to the benefit and development of their societies on equal basis with men. Education is the surest means of achieving this empowerment for women. Statement of the Problem In Nigerian society in recent times, most women are denied the opportunity of being educated due to some negative factors such as culture, religion, sex, poverty, ignorance, discrimination, among others. Empowering women with education will eliminate these inhibiting factors. Adebukola (2001) stressed that when a women is professionally empowered, she will make use of her endowment in a positive way and being a master in her profession, she will not be deprived the right to practice, so as to benefit the nation. According to Obetta (2004), since the declaration of women empowerment at the Beijing Conference of 1995, there have been sporadic changes in life of Nigerian women. Many of them enrolled in education programmes including adult literacy programme. Through adult literacy programme, many of them are now more self-reliant; have the ability to read and write letters as well as keeping of proper account. In addition, some of the women have obtained certificates for better jobs. However, the present low status of majority of Nigerian women cannot be neglected. This is because the major objective of adult literacy programme in Nigeria is to make the nearly 60 million Nigerian illiterates functionally literate. The achievement of the objectives of adult literacy programme cannot be effective without the reduction of high illiteracy rate of the female population in Nigeria. This can be realized by motivating them to participate in adult literacy programme. In Oji-River Local Government Area of Enugu State, the task of providing adult literacy programme to its populace, especially the womenfolk is in progress. This is in realization of the enormous role women play in national development. The adult literacy programme isto make the nearly 37.8 million female illiterates functionally literate. The objective of the programme was aimed at achieving social, economic, and political emancipation and progress of female folk. It is therefore a fact that the process of adult literacy programme cannot be sustained without the adult learners being adequately motivated. If this is not done, it will create problems such as poverty, malnutrition and diseases, women marginalization, among others, hence the need for the study. Purpose of the Study The main purpose of the study is to ascertain the factors motivating Oji-River women to participate in adult literacy programme. Specifically, the study sought to find out the: 1. Economic factors motivating women’s participation in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area. 2. Education factors motivating women’s participation in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area. 3. Psychologicalfactors motivating women’s participation in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area. 4. Politicalfactors motivating women’s participation in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area. 5. Family factors motivating women’s participation in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area. 6. Factors militating against effective women’s participation in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area. Significance of this Study The findings of this study would be significant and useful to the Department of Adult Education in the Nigerian Universities and other tertiary institutions;Administrators of local government councils, the planners/policy makers in Women Affairs Commission, community-based (women) organizations (C.B.Os) and non-governmental Organizations (NGOs). First, this will help the Department of Adult Education in the Nigerian Universities and other tertiary institutions to be more equipped on the factors that promote women’s education and thereby train personnel that would facilitate the adult women learners. The findings would help the planners/policy makers of Enugu State Women Affairs Commission to mount an effective adult education programmes that would be beneficial to the women in particular and to the generality of the people of the state. The findings of the study would also be of great use to community-based (women) organizations (C.B.Os) and non-governmental Organizations (NGOs). It would serve as a very useful working document for them. Finally, the findings would help the state agency for mass literacy, adult and non-formal education (SAME) to identify the factors militating against effective women’s participation in adult literacy programme. Surmounting such factors would help the promotion of women’s education to be carried out effectively and efficiently. Research Questions The following research questions guided the study: 1. What are the economic factors motivating women’s participating in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area? 2. What are the education factors motivating women’s participating in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area? 3. What are the psychological factors motivating women’s participating in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area? 4. What are the political factors motivating women’s participating in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area? 5. What are the family factors motivating women’s participating in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area? 6. What are the factors militating against the effective women’s participation in adult literacy programme in Oji-River Local Government Area?