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GEN 499 General Education Capstone

Published : 05-Oct,2021  |  Views : 10


All African Nations belong to the category of third world underdeveloped countries of the world. UNDP Human Development Index uses factors like per capita income, health of the people, and educational attainment to classify countries. Adult literacy and gross enrolment ratios are indicators of education status.

This paper uses Nigeria, a typical African country, to illustrate the problems posed by adult illiteracy to national development.
Statistical data are used to show the low levels of adult literacy with disparities between males and females; urban and rural areas, and between different zones of Nigeria and the continent.

Enrolments and completion rate in adult literacy programmes are presented. Nigeria's policy on adult and non formal education as reflected in the Nigerian constitution (1999), National Policy on Education (2004 edition).
Decree 17 on the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non formal education (1990), and the Universal Basic Education Law (2004) is analyzed to assess the extent of programmes implementation andnattainment of desired goals. The social, economic and political consequences of not paying adequate attention to mass literacy
and adult education are great.
Suggestions are made for partnership and collaboration between governments, NGOs,nand the private section in seeking viable solutions.



After lot of research and analysis of various topics using major secondary sources like newspaper articles and journals available in the internet and from the sources available at the University portal, I have selected ‘Adult illiteracy’ as the topic for the research study. I found that this particular issue has been into debate since a long time. Adult illiteracy has been considered as the major reason behind the poor condition of the countries like Africa and India.

In the article Jogwu, (2010) pointed out that the root of African underdevelopment is the rate of adult illiterate in the country. Africa falls under the category of third world country and apart from the income ratio and health and education attainment, illiteracy is a major reason that created disparity in the country. Reading, Glushchenko, (2015), it has been observed the culture and the ideology of a country depends on the rate of literate people in the country. Keeping the same perspective into consideration, political agenda has been made to improve the situation. A number of campaigns have also been raised to improve the degrading situation of the countries due to illiteracy in the country.

These articles have been used because they are peer reviewed and authentic. The journals provide adequate information with critical analysis of the situation. The name of the authors, publisher’s name, the credentials of the author and the date of publish article as well as the purpose of the journal has been stated that has created authenticity of the sources.

Adult literacy stands for the fact the number of adults (who are of or above the age of 18) are literate in an economy. According to the definition from the UN, a person is considered to be literate if he is able to write down his name or read it in any one recognized language.

In the earlier times, when people were into much of agricultural activities or activities which did not require much of intellectual study, the people weren’t literate at all. The level of literacy in the earlier times, around the 1990’s was very less (Jogwu, 2010). The people who were very well off were considered to be literate as they had the facilities to attend the schools and gain knowledge.

But with the growing economy and the emergence of globalization, the people have started to take education as an important tool for the development of not only the person but of the society and economy of the whole (Glushchenko, 2015). The literacy rate at many areas of the world has increased but still almost all the people are not literate.

In the present scenario, there would be a section of society which is considered to be illiterate. There are very less adults, mostly the ones who are very poor or have not been able to study because of various pressures, are illiterate.

It is very important for the success of the nation and for its systematic growth that all the people of the nation are literate. The rate adult literacy affects the position of the nation at the global level. The importance of adult literacy can be the following reasons-

  • It helps them in gaining education which would place them at a better job profile and hence improve their overall living standards.
  • Provides to the individual a better possibility to explore their potential to the fullest.
  • The education acquired can be put to several uses and hence it would be proved to be useful both at the workplace and in lives.
  • Education makes a person feel confident about him and he would be able to put his ideas in a much better way.
  • More the number of literate adults in a nation, more progressive the nation is considered,
  • Adult literacy is an index of study of growth and development of a country.
  • Make them a responsible citizen of the society(Abadzi, 2003).

There can be situation when educating the adults to improve te adult literacy rate is difficult. This is because-

  • Adults have already found a workplace or a job, and to manage stdying with the work is a difficult thing.
  • Grasping a new language at a elder age is a difficult task.
  • Balancing studies along with the work and family pressure too can be a reason for worry.

Curbing the problem of adult literacy will also help in curbing many other social issues which are prevalent in the society. Somewhere, all the social problems like literacy, poverty, female foeticide, etc. are all inter-linked (Nora, 2010). If the adults of the society are literate and everyone is having the basic sense of knowledge in the society, people will have the power to think and reason out the things happening in the society. Literacy will make them rational beings and they will not have superstitious minds.

Adult literacy helps the society as it also leads to literate coming generations. All the literate beings will make their children study and will make them grow. Literate people will be less ignorant about the things going out and they will hence be able to differentiate between the right and the wrong.

Hence, all the countries should focus on increasing the problem of adult illiteracy in their countries (Okech, 2001). If the data from the 1990’s till the present time of 2016-17 is compared, almost in all the countries, be it the developing nations like Africa, India, and other Asian countries or the developed nations like the United States, China, Japan, the index of adult literacy has increased with the time (Guzzetti, 2007). Yet the developing nations have less number of literate adults in their economies and they need to implement many adult literacy programmes which help in increasing the level of adult literacy in the nations. Such programmes should be implemented keeping in mind the number of people, the capital structure and the paying power of the people of the nation.


Abadzi, H. (2003). Improving Adult Literacy Outcomes: Lessons from Cognitive Research . 

Glushchenko, I. V. (2015). The Soviet Educational Project: The Eradication of Adult Illiteracy in the 1920s–1930s. . Russian Education & Society , pp. 57(11), 911-953.

Guzzetti, B. (2007). Literacy for the New Millennium: Adult literacy. New York.

Jogwu, C. O. (2010). Adult illiteracy: the root of African underdevelopment. Education. , pp. 130(3), 490-499.

Nora, H. (2010). Teaching Adult Literacy: A Teacher Education Handbook. London.

Okech, A. (2001). Adult literacy programs in Uganda. Springer.

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