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This project work attempts to look into the various effects of adult functional literacy programme on economic development. It also examines how effective adult functional literacy programme has contributed to individual development. 

The methodological study attempts some strategies and practical solutions to some of the perceived problems that emasculate or hindered effective and efficient adult functional literacy programme. 

It is the believe of the researcher that if the information in this project work is carefully utilized, it will produce the result of advancing economic development through functional literacy programmes. 

Finally, this project work is of immense value for those who need a true understanding of adult functional literacy programme. Its chapters and subject matters constitute part of the intellectual equipment on the usefulness of literacy programmes. 


Title page ----i

Certification ----ii

Dedication ----iii

Acknowledgment ---iv

Abstract ----v

Table of contents ----vi


1.1Background of study --1

1.2Statement of problems --7

1.3Purpose of study ---9

1.4Research questions ---9

1.5Significance of the study --10

1.6Scope of the study --11

1.7Basic assumptions ---11

1.8Definition of terms ---11

1.9Limitation of the study ---13



2.2Need for literacy in attaining the goals of 

fundamental education.-16

2.3Values inherent in literacy --18

2.4Functional literacy--21

2.5The concept of development --25

2.6The concept of economic development -27

2.7Literacy and economic development -30

2.8Functional literacy in relation to economic development 37


3.1Methodology ---42

3.2Research design --43

3.3Population of study ---43

3.4Sample and sampling techniques --44

3.5Instrument for data collection --44

3.6Validation of instrument of data --44

3.7Reliability of instrument of data--45

3.8Method of data collection --45

3.9Method of data analysis --46


4.1Presentation and data analysis --47

4.2Discussion of findings --56


5.1Summary of findings ---59

5.2Conclusion ---61

5.3Recommendation ---62

5.4Suggestion for further findings --64





Education and training are basically processes by which skills, knowledge and attitudes are learnt for performing social and economic responsibilities, social integration, improving personal competence, acquiring formal qualification for pursuing further education and seeking better employment opportunities. A major component of the development planning process is the effort in human capacity building through education and training. Anyanwu et al (1997) define education as any process by which an individual gains knowledge or insight or develops attitudes and skills. It is therefore the human resources of any nation, rather than it’s physical capital and material resources, which ultimately determine the character and pace of it’s economic and social development. Thus, Galbraitt (1964) observed that people are the common denominator of progress, and that “no improvement is possible with unimproved people”. Education for development can be obtained from both the formal and non-formal systems. 

The illiteracy level in the country has prompted the need to use non-formal education and literacy to reach out to more people in the country, particularly those who did not have the opportunity to attend the formal school. From all indications, non-formal education is an alternative substitute for formal education. Adult literacy falls under non-formal education. An adult is a person who has attained the age of maturity, usually 18 and above and is therefore regarded as economically, socially and politically independent, self-sufficient and responsible. The Federal Government has been involved in adult education for well over 200 years. The nature and extent of Federal attention to the needs of adult learner has varied over this period but from it’s earliest days, the government provided funds to establish, encourage and expand programs to assist adults in overcoming educational deficiencies which would hinder productive and responsible participation in the life and growth of the nation. 

The United Nations Educational, scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines literacy as the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using pointed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society. The power of literacy lies not just in the ability to read and write, but rather in a person’s capacity to apply these skills to effectively connect, interpret and discern the intricacies of the world in which they live. The observation by Greaney (1996) is that there is a strong link between illiteracy rates in a society and general development. 

Today, many able-bodied men and women now roam the streets for lack of gainful employment. This state of affairs where many literates and able-bodied men and women in the society are not gainfully employed has led to various intervention efforts on the part of the various state and the federal governments. This state of unemployment has led researchers to question whether the people are actually functional literates. This is because it was expected that those who are functionally literate would not wait endlessly for the government to give them jobs that are no longer in existence due to largely gross mismanagement and economic down turn but will fend themselves if they have acquired appropriate skills that would help them to become self-reliant. 

Okedara (1981), remarks that for literacy to have impact on the recipients, it must be functional as well as permanent. Olaoge (1991) also remarks that: functional literacy is the ability to use reading and writing to widen and display ones intellectual and economic horizon well enough to be able to tackle very effectively many of the socio-economic problems confronting individuals and the country as a whole. Functional literacy is important in developing countries where education has not reached the significant proportion of their adult population, particularly in rural areas. 

Some of the objectives of adult functional literacy programmes include the following: 

-To provide the people with literacy skills and to be able to use these skills in their day to day activities.

-To equip learners with the knowledge, attitude and skills that will enable them raise the quality of lives in their communities. 

-To enable learners improve upon their occupational skills through functional literacy.

-To broaden the reading interests of learners and establish an attitude of reading for pleasure through the provision of follow up literacy materials. 

Literacy has gone beyond the process of encoding and decoding words, it has moved to the realm of helping people to develop appropriate skills in their environment and solving their personal and community problems. The national policy on education specified the need for education to be functional, relevant and practical, particularly for skill acquisition needed for national development. That is why the Johannesburg World Summit on sustainable Development (2002) made further classifications on global commitments relating to skill acquisition and sustainable development as well as initiated the decade of Education and sustainable Development (DESD) 2005 – 2014. 

Ugwuebu (2003) opined that Adult education in Nigeria is not just about literacy or remedial education to fill a gap. The goals of adult and non-formal education include providing functional literacy for adults and the youths, to improve their basic knowledge and skills, provide in-service, on-the-job, vocational and professional training for different categories of workers and give adult citizens of the country necessary aesthetics, cultural and civic-education for public enlightenment.

A fast changing and unpredictable environment, fostering flexibility relies on solid general education and on broad functional skills which can be up-dated and completed through functional literacy programmes. The recourse to functional literacy can be anchored on the benefits that are derivable from general literacy and more specifically, functional literacy. According to experts in the field of literacy, functional literacy goes beyond being able to read and write (basic literacy). It is an emancipatory practice that requires people to be able to read, speak and understand (what ever is read) and be able to use the knowledge to solve their socio-economic and cultural problems. From the point of view of the government, government alone cannot provide all the needs for the masses hence adult functional literacy programmes offer an important move for better livings. 

It is in the light of this that this study was initiated, to assess the effect of functional literacy programmes on the economic development of the people using Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State as a case study. 


Adult literacy was undertaken by many developing countries between 1950 and 1980. (Abadze, 1994). The “Education For All Conference” of 1990 was the main impetus for the campaign for adult literacy after that time. The conference appealed to international financial agencies to come to the aid of adult literacy programmes in terms of funding. This yielded some positive results. 

It is an established fact that functional literacy is a tool for liberation and enriched living as well as for ensuring socio-economic development of any society. It is about putting the acquired literacy skills to work in order to bring economic changes, the awareness of this has led to embracing of adult functional literacy programmes. The question to be answered therefore is how effective are these programmes to economic development. Are the literate adults contributing to economic development with acquired literacy skills. 

In line with the problem stated, the study was designed to ascertain the effect of the functional literacy programme on economic development of Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State. 


Based on the issues raised in the background to the study and statement of problem, the purpose of the study is listed as follows:

-To find out if functional literacy programme help in the acquisition of skills that are relevant to self-fulfilment. 

-To know if the literacy skills acquired have impacted on the people’s knowledge and practice in their daily activities. 

-To determine the relationship between literacy skills and poverty alleviation in the area. 

-To ascertain if the literacy skills acquired enhance people involvement in economic activities. 

-To determine if the acquisition of literacy skills enable the people of that area to understand the role to play to bring about economic development. 


The following research questions are raised to guide the study: 

1.Does functional literacy improve skill acquisition?

2.Does literacy influence people’s knowledge and their way of living? 

3.Does functional literacy have relationship with poverty alleviation?

4.Does functional literacy enhance people’s involvement in economic activities?

5.Does acquisition of literacy skills enable people to understand the role to play to bring about economic development?


This study will help to throw more light on the effects functional literacy programmes are having in the lives of the people in terms of attitude, understanding as well as contributions to societal development. It is a means of sensitizing the consciousness of the people and making them to know that their lives are in their hands in terms of development. 


This research is designed to cover Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State. This will concentrate on the effect of functional literacy programme on the economic development in that area. 


This study is based on the assumptions that. 

-Adult functional literacy programmes have contributed significantly to economic development. 

-The programme has created awareness in the people of Esan North East.

-Every individual have roles to play to bring about economic development to their Local Government Areas. 


For the purpose of simplication, terms are defined here in the context of usage in this study. Such terms include:


An adult is a person who has attained the age of maturity and is therefore regarded as independent, self-sufficient and responsible. 

2.Functional Literacy 

This is the ability to use reading and writing to widen and display one’s intellectual and economic horizon well enough to be able to tackle very effectively many of the socio-economic problems of life. 

3.Functional Literacy Programmes 

They are programmes of education geared towards social, political and economic development of an area. The utility of their skills bring about functionality and progress in the occupation and foster permanent literacy in the recipients. 

4.Economic Development 

Economic development encompasses economic growth in long term increase in national income, plus a structural transformation of the economy to support and sustain the growth in income.

5.Human Capital 

Human capital is considered as the most valuable asset and needs to be mobilized, developed and empowered to participate fully in all socio-economic activities. 


A study of this nature requires the use of several areas as case studies but this was not possible as such issues as time and finance acted as great constraints to the expansion of the ambit of the study. 

Again, the nature of the study required that information from both the literate and illiterate members of the area be obtained. While the former can easily be obtained through the administration of questionnaires, the latter would only be possible through personal interviews and this greatly imposed a limitation on the numbers that can be reached. 

Conclusively, it would be observed that though the study ahs made a deliberate effort at establishing a relationship between functional literacy programmes and economic development; the various constraints acting against it have greatly reduced the extent to which the results can be applied to the solutions of development problems.

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