Investigate the factors motivating adult learners’ participation in functional literacy programmes in New Karu Local Government of Nassarawa state.


Price: 2000 Naira (BSC, MSC)





1.1Background to the Study

Education is the industry that produces manpower for the economy of nations. Therefore, education enhances manpower development by improving the number and quality of human resource.

Baraday in Afonja (2003) says that education is truly a mirror of the level of development and the aspiration of any people.

Education in general and functional literacy programmes in particular are means of advancing people in terms of giving them knowledge, skills attitudes necessary for expanding their potentials.

Akinpelu (2002) is of the view that education programmes are organized for learners who have pre-occupation or jobs other than studying. Furthermore, education is associated with vocational occupation or professional skills of development.

Functional literacy is one step further from elementary literacy.

It refers to the ability to use the skills of reading writing and computing in the acquisition of such information as would make the individual function more actively in the economics, social, political, psychological and cultural activities of the community where he or she lives. Essentially, for any adults to participate in any functional literacy programme there must be need for it. Need and motivation are two important things that guide the adult participants in functional literacy programmes. Literacy is seen as a tool for developing skill, knowledge and attitudes for the daily survival of human persons. Therefore, literacy is an educational process which aims at inculcating in the individual the ability to read and write and to carry out basic calculations. 

Literacy could be seen as the ability to function better in one’s social context. Thus, literacy is aimed at enhancing one’s understanding of the society in which one is required to assume a functional role.

UNESCO (2011) defined functional literacy as the ability to identify, understand, interpreted, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continued learning by individuals to achieve their goals to develop their knowledge, potential and to participate fully in their community and the wider society.

Oduaran (1991) defined functional literacy as one step further up from elementary literacy. It refers aptly to the ability to use the skills of reading, writing and computing that would benefit the individual.

Beder (1990) and Thompson (1992) identified self-improvement, family responsibilities, job participation, advancement, urging by other people, social expectations and relationships, escape from bore dome and stimulation and cognitive interest as basic motivation.

From the foregoing definitions, the authors are united on the meaning of literacy that is; literacy aims at addressing the need of participants. In other words, needs motivate people to participate in literacy programmes.Needs according to Abraham Maslow are hierarchical in nature and can be categorized into five.

The Five Categories of Need are:

  1. Physiological
  2. Safety, stability and security
  3. Belongingness (social affiliation love)
  4. Self esteem
  5. Self – actualization

The above hierarchy of needs make us understand why adult learners participate in functional literacy programs. For instance, an adult learner who lacks social and economic rewards tend to participate in functional literacy programmes so as to solve these needs for growth and development of self.

The tension and problems learners encounter in his environment or working place will motivate him to find a solution to the tension and problems. He participates in functional literacy programmes so as to improve safety and security for himself, in his job or environment.

The learning needs of adult vary according to their social role. Adults who newly arrive at working age will be obsessed with learning how to make a living. Likewise, a woman with young children will be interested in domestic matters and in the children’s education. So also a member of a church choir will be interested in learning music in better way.

The individual as an adult learner has a need that is sometimes termed self-fulfillment or self-actualization. Some adult learners may wish to develop skills in their work which will enable them excel or in other skills from which they may derive satisfaction and recognition such as in sports or in domestic practice like sewing or cooking. Some may wish to enhance their social standing, cultivate new social relationships and feel the need for learning how to achieve such success.

There are some adult learners who may have lost educational opportunities in the past that will feel incomplete as persons unless they fill what they see as gaps in their knowledge and education. 

The behavior of adult learners in a given environment is aimed at fulfilling basic want or needs which vary at a given time.  The need to improve on one’s job, further knowledge or education, to improve social status, for socialization, mental improvement, psychological capability, political orientation, religious improvement, awareness etc. will motivate adult learners to participate in functional literacy programmes. The adult learners can be a spouse, parents, workers, young adults etc. if these needs that motivate them to participate in functional literacy programmes are met, they can be satisfied in the aspect of growth and development for themselves and the society in which they live.

The attitude of the adult educator can also motivate adult learners to enroll in functional literacy programmes. Facts from research has shown that educators(Teachers) play vital role in the teaching and learning experience. When educators have the right attitude towards adult learners they will be encouraged to participate in literacy programmes.

Availability of facilities in the environment where literacy programmes are located can also encourage learners to participate in literacy programs. Because adult learners are motivated by what they see, how they are treated thereby causing growth and development.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

          There has been a rapid increase in the participation of adult learners in functional literacy programmes in recent years. This is evident in the high rate of adult learner’s enrolment in functional literacy programmes in New Karu LGA taking advantage of centres offering such programmes. In spite of the various tasks which adult learners struggle with, they still avail themselves to these learning activities or opportunities. What then could be the motivating factors? To what extent do these factors serve as determinants of adult learners’ participation in functional literacy programmes?

1.3 Purpose of Study

The General purpose of this study is to investigate the factors motivating adult learners’ participation in functional literacy programmes in New Karu Local Government of Nassarawa state. The specific objectives of the study are set to find out the following:

  1. The factors that motivates adult learners’ participation in functional literacy programmes.

2. The factors militating against adult learners’ participation in functional literacy programmes.

3. The solutions to those factors militating against adults’ participation in functional literacy programmes.

4.The goals of adult participants in functional literacy programmes.

5. Identify the personal characteristics of adult learners that serve as determinants of their participation in functional literacy programmes.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are adult learners’ objectives in participating in functional literacy programmes?
  2. To what extent does adult learner’s social interaction or relationship influence their participation in functional literacy programmes?
  3. To what extent do adult learners’ psychological factors serve as determinants of adult learner’s participation in functional literacy programmes?
  4. Do responsibility and personal life factors motivate adult learner’s participation in functional literacy programmes?
  5. To what extent do adult learners’ economic reasons influence their participation in literacy programmes?

1.5Significance of the Study

The findings will enlighten students (particularly adult) on factors motivating them toward literacy programmes and how to cope with the challenges that come with adults’ literacy programmes. It would be useful to those who may use it as part of their literature review in research.

 For Teachers, especially those involve in adult education. The adult educator’s mission is helping adult learners learn what will gratify their needs at whatever level they may be struggling. Therefore, if adults are hungry, they should be helped to learn what will give them food, if they are well-fed, safe, loved and esteemed, they must be helped to explore undeveloped capabilities and become fully equipped. Teachers will be equipped with knowledge of the factor affecting or influencing adult learners’ participation in functional literacy programmes and help them plan their teaching/learning experience accordingly.

    The findings will intimate the Federal government of Nigeria with the ways of motivating adult learners to participate in functional literacy programmes in her effort to reduce illiteracy among Nigerian adults. Having realized that the only way to transform communities and eradicate illiteracy, is empowerment of citizens with knowledge and skill of reading and writing. This study will help direct government policies towards equal and adequate educational opportunities for all citizens by creating literacy centres that will promote functional literacy programmes for growth and development. More so, it will add to the existing knowledge and contribute to the advancement of education in Nigeria.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

          The study is limited to the geographical area of New Karu LGA of Nassarawa state. The research covers the factors that motivates adult learners in functional literacy programmes in some selected centres in Karu Local Government Area. Because of time frame and logistics, the research is limited to Centres in Karu LGA even though there are other Local Government Areas in Nassarawa state. This means that decisions and conclusions drawn are applied to New Karu Local Government.

1.7 OperationalDefinition of Terms

          For the purpose of this study the key concepts used are defined below:

  1. Adult learner: One who returns to school full-time or part-time while maintaining responsibilities such as employment, family and other responsibilities of adult life.
  2. Education: The process of transmitting attitudes, values, skills and knowledge of a society from one generation to another.
  3. Literacy: It is an instrument for acquiring relevant knowledge and skills required for development, literacy is the ability to read and understand a simple text, and to use and transmit written information of everyday life.  It is an activity embedded in social and cultural practices.
  4. Functional literacy: The ability to use the skills of reading, writing and computing in the acquisition of basic information for development. Also, the use of adult education to acquire knowledge and skills to meet individual’s needs and foster national development.
  5. Motivation: It is the management function that stimulates individuals to accomplish set down instructional or organizational goals. It is an intrinsic drive towards the fulfillment of personal needs and the improvement of one’s perceived status, it is influenced strongly by extrinsic factors.
  6. Literacy programmes: It refers to the programmes designed to enhance the skills and development. It is also a systematic planned activities intended to equip individual participants to become skillful in the ability to read, write and compute to an appreciable level inLearning situation.

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