THE INFLUENCE OF ADULT EDUCATION ON POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF RIVERS STATE
This study examined adult education and political development in Rivers State. It specifically, examined the impact of adult education programmes on political development in the State. The objectives of the research include; the influence of functional and remedial education adult literacy; the influence of adult education programmes on adult citizens in the area of cultural and civic education for public enlightenment; the influence of literacy on political development; the influence of adult education programmes on political development; possible hindrances towards adult education programmes and how it has hindered political development in Rivers State. Questionnaire modelled in Likert five-point scales was used as the instrument. The analytical tool used was SPSS, simple linear regression and correlation for the analyses of data. A total of two hundred (208) questionnaires were administered to adult learners across different adult learning centres in the 3 senatorial districts of Rivers State. One hundred and forty-six (146) were filled and returned. The result from the test of hypotheses using simple linear regression indicated that adult education has a significant effect on political development. The result from the test of hypotheses shows that there is a significant effect of functional and remedial education on adult literacy; there is a significant influence of adult education programmes on public enlightenment; there is a significant relationship between literacy and political development, and there is a significant effect of adult education on political development. Among others, the study recommends literacy organizers should adopt consciousness-raising and dialogical literacy approaches in the state literacy programme as such an effort would conscientize citizens for political leadership.
1.1 Background of the study
The link between literacy and development is predicated on the assumption that as individuals become more exposed to information about their environment, especially the public institutions and government, they will be more prepared to intervene to make such bodies more responsive to their needs. There is the expectation also that as individuals are engaged in political decisions about the myriad aspects of their lives; an intimate connection emerges between literacy and democracy. Few people could deny that entering formal relations with state and other modern institutions today requires print communications. Therefore, attention to literacy—defined as individual access to reading and writing—is an inescapable proposition (Stromquist, 2005).
According to Yusuf (2013), literacy is considered a right, an essential and adds value to a person’s life. The building of a literate society will lead to the development and empowerment of citizens to be able to understand their environment and institutions governing them. Education for an adult means that they will come to know the importance of understanding their rights and duties. Their coming together at literacy classes provides a platform for them to share their experiences as citizens of the country. Rural dwellers, which were socially excluded, although they form the larger part of the population of Nigeria, will be able to take their rightful positions in societies through their engagement in literacy programmes (Yusuf, 2013).
Adult Education Programmes play a very crucial role in the development aspect of any society. They are widely recognized as a powerful tool for eradicating adult illiteracy, reducing poverty and attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They provide basic education and training opportunities to adults and out of school youth, aged fifteen years and above, who have either missed out on formal education in their childhood or for one reason or another dropped out of school before attaining sustainable levels (Wanyama, 2014).
The supposed target of every nation is to make life easy, cheap and comfortable for her citizens. It is this intention that drives nations into embarking in many activities some of which are political, economic, social, religious, cultural, technological etc in order to raise the capital base of the nation (Adekola, 2015).
In Nigeria, the case is different as the attempts to develop Nigeria politically has been bedevilled by diverse societal issues due to lack of strong will for political development.
This situation calls for adult education programmes that can be directed towards addressing these problems and challenges facing human beings. As noted by Adekola (2015), adult education is very vital to addressing these problems because it provides the adult with the necessary skills, attitudes, knowledge, values, beliefs required to trigger social and economic development of any society. It is important to target adults because they, rather than children hold the destiny of modern society in their hands (Anyanwu, 1987).
Ewuzie, (2012) stated that adult education in Nigeria is presently geared towards national development. The objective of the process of adult education and national development is to get the adults, either as individuals or as a group, to learn and through learning to change their attitude and behaviour. The policy on education states the objectives of adult education as:
1. To provide functional literacy education for adults who have never had the opportunity of any formal education
2. To provide functional and remedial education for those young people who prematurely dropped out of the formal school system
3. To provide further education for different categories of completers of the formal education system in order to improve their basic knowledge and skills
4. To provide in-service and on-the-job vocational and professional training for different categories of workers and professionals in order to improve their skills
5. To give the adult citizens of the country aesthetic, cultural and civic education for public enlightenment.
Monye (1981) opines that all these objectives have one end in view-to equip the adult with everything he needs for life in order to be relevant to his society by helping to solve some of its problems.
In support of Anyanwu’s view, Obi (1987) maintains that adults are those who are already working and participating in development efforts. Obi further emphasizes that adult education programmes unlike education for children and adolescents, centre on the immediate needs and problems of the adults in their homes, social and occupational roles, civic and economic interests and therefore have an immediate direct positive relationship with development objectives. Since adults are those already participating in development efforts, there is need to develop a skilled and informed population of adults who would be capable of understanding national problems and needs and are able to channel their activities towards the fulfilment of national goals. The skilled and informed adult population is very necessary both for the advancement of political, social and economic development as well as the promotion of internal unity. This fact makes adult education an indispensable means for the achievement of political, economic and social survival.
1.2 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of adult education has on political development. The specific objectives of the study are;
1. To scrutinize the extent to which functional and remedial education has influenced adult literacy in Rivers State
2. To examine how adult education programmes have influenced the adult citizens of Rivers state in the area of cultural and civic education for public enlightenment.
3. To investigate the extent to which literacy influence political development in Rivers State
4. To ascertain the influence of adult education programmes on the political development of Rivers State
5. To identify the possible hindrances towards adult education programmes and how it has hindered political development in Rivers State
6. To proffer solutions to the hindrances facing adult education in the state
1.3 Statement of problems
The relatively routinely heavy investment industrialized countries make in adult education and training is informed by the critical role of knowledge and skills in the modem economy.
Duru (1998) stated that development is a process of the socio-economic and political transformation of problems generating structure in such a way that it leads to improvement in the level of living of the people including income education, health and nutrition and other related social services, decreasing inequality in the distribution of income, urban-rural imbalances and political and economic opportunities.
According to Edwards (1997), a responsively comprehensive adult education policy should seek to institute and sustain a culture of learning that will lead to the emergence of a learning society.
As Nigerian adults struggle with the problems and opportunities in their personal lives, they are simultaneously challenged to contribute to the development of their communities and society. Hence, lifelong learning becomes imperative, not only for the effective function of individuals at the workplace and in their own communities, but also for the renewal of society itself.
Considering the efforts of Rivers State government towards adult literacy, it would be worthy to know whether the political emancipation of adults which forms one of the core aspects of a literacy programme has been met. It is on the basis of this that this study examined the impact of adult education programmes on the political development of Rivers State.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions will guide this study to examine the influence of adult education has on political development.
1. To what extent has functional and remedial education influenced adult literacy in Rivers State?
2. How has adult education programmes influenced the adult citizens of Rivers state in the area of cultural and civic education for public enlightenment?
3. To what extent does literacy influence political development in Rivers State?
4. How have adult education programmes influenced political development in Rivers State?
5. What are the hindrances towards adult education programmes in fostering political development in Rivers State?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The hypotheses for this study are as follows:
Ho1: There is no significant effect of functional and remedial education on adult literacy
Ho2: There is no significant effect on adult education programmes on public enlightenment of adult citizens of Rivers state
Ho3: There is no significant relationship between literacy and political development
Ho4: There is no significant relationship between adult education programmes and political development
1.6 Scope of the study
The scope of this study is limited to the examination of the influence of adult education on political development. The study will examine the importance of adult education as a way of adopting political liberty as a stepping-stone to social emancipation and economic democracy.
The study will solely focus on three senatorial districts of River State, namely River East, Rivers West and Rivers South-East. The study will further examine the various adult education programmes in these senatorial districts and how they have influenced political development over the years. The study will be limited to specific areas in these senatorial districts because of the vastness landscape in the state.
1.7 Significance of the study
This study is important because its findings will help beam the searchlight on the day to day running of adult education programmes in Nigeria. The findings will provide the basis for understanding the goals of the adult education programmes and if they are being achieved at different levels. Furthermore, the study will bring about enlightenment of adult citizens on how they can contribute their quota towards the political development of the Rivers State and the country at large.
Secondly, the study will add to the reservoir of knowledge in the areas of political development through long-life learning of citizens on their rights in achieving a common developmental goal that will make life easier for people.
Thirdly, the research study will be a stepping stone for further research into political development in Nigeria.
Fourthly, the study will contribute in no small measure in the understanding of the various institutional designs as they affect adult education programmes and development of political parties and party systems in Nigeria.
Fifthly, if the findings of this study are accessed by policymakers, they will surely provide impetus and data that will ensure the formulation, evolution, and development of vibrant, strong and viable political parties in Nigeria that are geared towards development as a result of educated citizens.
Finally, it is the researcher’s hope that the study will make good readership piece for scholars, students and others who are interested in political development and adult education programmes.
1.8 Definition of terms
Adult Education: This is a practice in which adults engage in systemic and sustained self-educating activities in order to gain new forms of knowledge, skills, altitudes, or values.
Political Party Development
The term political party development is defined as the process through which a political party originates, evolves into an organized structure and becomes either more or less electorally accountable. It is important to note that in practice this is a non- linear, multi-dimensional process.
This is a closely related concept to political party development and is primarily used in the context of the party and party system institutionalization. Following Randall and Svasand (2002) analysis, it is here defined as the process by which the party (or the party system) becomes established in terms both of integrated patterns of behaviour and attitudes, or culture.
The concept of a political party is the most frequently used in political discourse and arguably in need of defining most because of its variety of meanings in different contexts and time periods. One of the most famous and widely used definitions is that by Edmund Burke (1770) as cited by Paul Langford (1981:312), who defines a party as “a body of men united for promoting by their joint endeavours the national interest upon some particular the principle in which they all agreed”. However, the emphasis on a shared ideology among party members in this definition does not seem to apply to most parties in non-western nor to some parties in contemporary western democracies- that lack a clear ideological profile, have a much more fluid membership and operate on a more pragmatic, clientelist basis. A more minimalist definition that still captures the representational function of political parties is more appropriate. This research study, therefore, uses Giovanni Sartori’s (1994) definition: “a party in any political group that presents at elections, and is capable of placing through elections, candidates for public office”..