Education Project Topics

Introducing Adult Literacy in Bethlehem Community Due to Illiteracy Rate

Introducing Adult Literacy in Bethlehem Community Due to Illiteracy Rate

Introducing Adult Literacy in Bethlehem Community Due to Illiteracy Rate

Chapter One

Objective of the study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To examine if there is high rate of illiteracy in Bethlehem community.
  2. To examine the impact of the adult education on the participants in Bethlehem community.
  3. To examine the role of adult literacy Education Programme plays in the development of Bethlehem community.



  The Concept of Illiteracy

According to the United Nations’ Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO 1989), definition, the illiterate, also known as the non-reader is : a person who cannot, with understanding, read and write a simple statement on his everyday life; and a functionally illiterate is a person who cannot 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 for his own and the community’s development. The illiterate is, therefore, a person for whom the written word or symbol in any language conveys no meaning and who, consequently, cannot use it in any form of communication. These ordinary definitions of illiteracy must today be extended to include what I may call the neo-illiterates. Today one talks about “computer literacy”. Thus science and technology have created a new class of illiterates to which some traditionally literate people now belong. Anyone who today does not possess the requisite skills in computer and internet usage is a “neo-illiterate. Unfortunately, even in our institutions of higher learning, there are many “neo-illiterates”. Many studies on illiteracy have shown that people who cannot read and write usually have very negative self-perception of themselves. Some scholars have tried to get inside the mind of the non-reader in order to discover how and what he/she thinks. Eberle and Robinson (1980:5,8,36) recorded the following utterances of some illiterates in Vermont, U.S.A. My biggest hurt of all is I feel I have failed my children because I couldn’t help them with their school work. If someone handed me a piece of paper to read, I pretended to read it. If anyone asked questions I said everything was alright and that I didn’t have any questions. I want to write a letter , you got to get someone to do it for you. Everybody knows my business. When you don’t read, it is like riding a motorcycle with your eyes closed, You don’t know what is coming up next. The hardest thing about it is I’ve been places where I don’t know where I was, if you don’t know where you are, and you can’t read something, you are lost. It sure ain’t fun to be lost. How do you go about telling someone you want to marry that you can’t read? Right? Man it is like opening a bottle, putting a stick of dynamite in it, and hoping it doesn’t go off. In 1998, I carried out a research study among fifty-seven University of Nigeria illiterate casual farm hands. They were asked the following questions:

  1. How do you feel about your inability to read and write in your mother tongue or in English?
  2. iWhat would you want to be done to help you learn to read and write?

The following were the most frequently given responses: I feel useless and cannot make meaningful contributions especially in the midst of the educated; whatever they say is right, carries. I always look for somebody to read my letters or write for me. Sometimes my letter remained for days before I got someone to read it for me. Sometimes I feel they have not told me everything in the letter. I look stupid and ashamed each time I receive my monthly pay and have to thumbprint against my name instead of signing my name. More painful is when I thumbprint and cannot recognize my own thumb-print after many others have done theirs. I want to be able to write and sign my name on paper at least. I wish I could be born again. If I were to be born again, nothing would prevent me from reading and writing. I feel cheated. Sometimes those who read newspapers refuse to tell you the whole story about important events. I wish I could read simple books or even newspapers. My son bought me a watch. We have a clock in the house but I cannot tell the time. I wake up too early and go to work hours before others. I want to know how to tell the time. It should be noted here that each of the respondents whether in the USA or in Nigeria expressed self disappointment, humiliation and a sense of failure arising from the embarrassments experienced as an illiterate.

The Concept of Literacy

What then is Literacy? There are various definitions of literacy; but for the purpose of this lecture, we shall – consider two of them: the definition of literacy adopted during the June 2003 meeting organized by the Basic . Education Sector of the UNESCO in collaboration with U.I.S and that proposed in the Persepolis meeting of 1975. The definition proposed by the UNESCO follows the traditional concept of functional literacy: Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute using printed and written materials associated with varying contents. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling the individual to achieve his or her goals, develop his or her knowledge and potentials, and participate fully in the community and wider society. To this may be added a further dimension of literacy earlier defined also by the UNESCO in 1965. This is known as functional literacy or work oriented literacy. It is considered to be comprehensive enough to teach economic skills and offer immediate use to the recipients in participating in important political issues and personal matters. This dimension of literacy calls for definite programmes and instructional objectives and strategies within a context of development which should be part of an over-all educational plan in order that the new literates may become active members of the society. The other concept of literacy called the Persepolis Declaration of 1975, is based on a new ideology and methodology. It considers literacy to be not just the process of learning the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic but a contribution to the liberation of man and to his full development. Thus conceived, literacy creates conditions for the acquisition of a critical consciousness of the contradictions of the society in which one lives. It also stimulates man’s initiative and his participation in the creation of projects capable of acting upon the world, of transforming it, and of defining the aims of an authentic human development. The ideology highlighted by this concept is that of literacy for liberation and the methodology that of dialogue based on significant themes relevant to the learner’s everyday life. Literacy is a valid arid an effective tool for empowerment. Here is an example of a woman empowered by literacy education. In 2004 a group of rural women registered in an adult literacy programme organized by my NGO, called Literacy Initiative Network Connections Services (L1NCS). Describing how literacy has improved her life, after two years in the programme, one of the women said: “I can now tell the time, I do not have to wait for the sound of the plane before I can say it is time to prepare food for my children coming back from school; and I can now write; I do not have to mark on the wall to remember the amount of money given to me by my age grade meeting to keep as treasurer. All that makes me feel happy and proud. A similar report was given by Aksornkool (1995) about Chu Yung Song, a Japanese, and one of the lucky 563 million adult illiterate women in the world today who now have access to literacy education by the UNESCO and can read and write. Describing how literacy has changed her life, Chu said: I don’t have to mark bus tyres any more to make sure I get the right bus, and I don’t panic when I leave my child in hospital because I know I will be able to find her ward and my way out again. And when I use the public toilets, there are no more embarrassing surprises. It is in such simple testimonies that one can appreciate the impact of the acquisition of literacy on people’s everyday life.



Chapter Three

  Research methodology

Research Design

The research design adopted in this research work is the survey research design which involves the usage of self-designed questionnaire in the collection of data. Under the survey research design, primary data of this study will be collected from Bethlehem community in order to determine introducing adult literacy in Bethlehem community due to illiteracy rate. The design was chosen because it enables the researcher to collect data without manipulation of any variables of interest in the study. The design also provides opportunity for equal chance of participation in the study for respondents.

Population of Study

The population of study is the census of all items or a subject that possess the characteristics or that have the knowledge of the phenomenon that is being studied (Asiaka, 1991). It also means the aggregate people from which the sample is to be drawn.

Population is sometimes referred to as the universe. The population of this research study will be Seventy-five (75) residents in Bethlehem community



This chapter is about the analysis and presentation of data collected from the field through questionnaire. The analysis of the data with particular question immediately followed by the presentation of findings.

As mentioned in chapter three, 63 questionnaires were administered and 50 were retrieved and necessary analysis was carried out on them and presented as follows:




It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain introducing adult literacy in Bethlehem community due to illiteracy rate. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of introducing adult literacy in Bethlehem community due to illiteracy rate


This study was on introducing adult literacy in Bethlehem community due to illiteracy rate. Three objectives were raised which included: To examine if there is high rate of illiteracy in Bethlehem community, to examine the impact of the adult education on the participants in Bethlehem community and to examine the role of adult literacy Education Programme plays in the development of Bethlehem community. The total population for the study is 75 selected residents in Bethlehem community. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies


Adult literacy education in Nigeria has a long history. It started in the 11th century via the activities of moslem traders. The federal government of Nigeria should look into the factors that promote adult literacy as elucidated in this paper and try to implement them. The adult populace of this country should be made to embrace literacy so as to escape the shackles and all other negativities associated with illiteracy.


  1. Ministry of Adult Education should be created to take over the administration of Adult literacy programmes in Nigeria.
  2. Adult Education should be adequately funded so as to meet the demands of its various programmes.
  3. Professionals and well qualified adult educators only should be employed to teach in adult literacy programmes in the country.


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