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1.1. Background to the Study

Adult education, a dynamic and multidimensional concept, plays a pivotal role in addressing the evolving learning needs of individuals beyond their formal schooling years. Unlike traditional education, which primarily caters to children and young adults, adult education focuses on the diverse learning aspirations of individuals who have entered different stages of life. According to Adekunle (2017) rooted in the principles of lifelong learning, adult education recognizes that learning is not confined to a specific age or setting. It encompasses a wide spectrum of learning experiences, ranging from basic literacy and numeracy skills for those who missed out on formal education, to advanced vocational training, personal enrichment, and community engagement. Central to the concept of adult education is the recognition of the autonomy and agency of adult learners. Adults engage in learning for various reasons, driven by personal, professional, or social motivations. They bring rich life experiences, diverse perspectives, and unique challenges to the learning environment. Adult education acknowledges these differences and emphasizes learner-centered approaches that cater to individual goals, preferences, and circumstances. This might involve flexible scheduling, experiential learning methods, and the incorporation of prior knowledge.

Several key principles underpin the practice of adult education. Firstly, relevance is paramount. Adult learners seek knowledge and skills that are directly applicable to their lives, careers, and interests. Therefore, curricula are often designed to address real-world challenges, enhancing the immediate practicality of learning outcomes. Secondly, active participation and interactive learning are emphasized. According to Ibrahim (2018) adult education encourages collaborative learning, group discussions, problem-solving, and critical thinking, capitalizing on the diverse experiences and perspectives of participants. Pedagogically, adult education embraces andragogy, a teaching approach tailored to the characteristics of adult learners. Andragogy contrasts with pedagogy, which is more aligned with traditional teaching methods for children. Andragogy highlights the need for self-directed learning, allowing adults to take ownership of their learning journeys. Facilitators serve as guides, creating an environment that encourages dialogue, reflection, and the application of knowledge to real-life situations.

The impact of adult education extends beyond individual learners, resonating through communities and societies. At the individual level, adult education fosters personal growth, self-confidence, and a renewed sense of purpose. It equips adults with updated skills, enabling them to adapt to changing work environments, enhance employability, and pursue new career paths. This not only empowers individuals to improve their economic prospects but also contributes to the overall productivity and innovation of a society’s workforce (Okoro, 2019). Furthermore, adult education promotes social inclusion by breaking down barriers to learning and participation. It reaches marginalized populations, empowering them to engage in civic activities, express their opinions, and contribute to community development. Moreover, adult education can have positive health outcomes, promoting awareness of health-related practices, disease prevention, and well-being. Collectively, adult education has a transformative effect on society. It promotes informed citizenship, facilitates lifelong learning cultures, and addresses challenges related to poverty, inequality, and social exclusion. As societies undergo rapid changes, such as technological advancements and demographic shifts, adult education becomes an essential tool for fostering resilience, adaptability, and sustainable development.

            The state of adult literacy in Nigeria is a complex and multifaceted issue that reflects both the nation’s potential for growth and the challenges it faces in achieving widespread education and development. While Nigeria has made strides in expanding access to basic education over the years, the issue of adult literacy remains a significant concern. According to UNESCO, Nigeria’s adult literacy rate was estimated to be around 62.0% as of 2018, indicating that a substantial portion of the adult population still lacks adequate reading, writing, and numeracy skills. Numerous factors contribute to the state of adult literacy in Nigeria (Yusuf, 2020). Historical underinvestment in education, particularly in rural and marginalized areas, has led to disparities in educational access and quality. Limited infrastructure, teacher shortages, and insufficient resources have hindered the development of adult education programs. Moreover, the economic challenges faced by many Nigerians often compel them to prioritize immediate livelihood activities over pursuing further education, perpetuating a cycle of limited literacy skills. Gender disparities are a notable aspect of Nigeria’s adult literacy landscape. Women, particularly in northern regions, face significant barriers to education due to cultural norms, early marriages, and lack of resources. This gender gap perpetuates inequalities and prevents women from fully participating in economic, social, and political activities.

            Adult education plays a pivotal role in promoting adult literacy programs in Nigeria, offering a multifaceted approach that addresses the diverse barriers to literacy and empowers individuals to develop essential skills for personal, social, and economic advancement. By intertwining adult education initiatives with adult literacy programs, Nigeria can create a comprehensive framework that not only improves basic literacy skills but also equips adults with a range of competencies required to thrive in contemporary society (Ogunleye, 2016). Firstly, adult education offers a flexible and learner-centered approach that accommodates the varying needs, preferences, and schedules of adult learners. Incorporating elements of functional literacy into adult education curricula ensures that literacy skills are contextualized and directly applicable to real-life situations. This approach resonates particularly well in Nigeria, where many adults face demands of work, family, and other responsibilities. Adult education programs can blend literacy acquisition with skills training, such as vocational skills, financial literacy, and digital literacy. This integration not only enhances the practical relevance of learning but also empowers adults to navigate the complexities of modern life effectively. Secondly, the holistic nature of adult education enables a more comprehensive understanding of literacy beyond reading and writing (Mohammed, 2018). In Nigeria, where diverse languages and cultural contexts exist, adult education can foster literacy in indigenous languages, preserving cultural heritage while enhancing communication skills. Moreover, adult education can address critical issues like health literacy, enabling adults to comprehend medical instructions, make informed health decisions, and promote healthy lifestyles. By promoting adult education that encompasses functional, cultural, and health literacy, Nigeria can foster a literate society that is well-equipped to engage fully in economic, social, and civic activities.

To promote adult literacy programs in Nigeria effectively, the establishment of robust adult education infrastructure is essential. Community-based learning centers, vocational training institutes, and mobile learning units can serve as hubs for adult education that simultaneously address literacy needs. Leveraging technology, such as online platforms and mobile applications, can extend access to learning beyond geographical barriers. According to Akinsola (2019) such initiatives can cater to various demographics, including rural populations, women, and marginalized groups. Furthermore, adult education promotes empowerment, which is central to fostering a culture of lifelong learning. Through interactive teaching methodologies, participatory activities, and peer learning, adult education cultivates an environment where individuals take ownership of their learning journeys. This empowerment fosters a sense of agency and self-confidence, motivating adults to pursue literacy as a gateway to broader personal development. Collaboration is vital in this endeavor. Government agencies, NGOs, community organizations, and educational institutions should join forces to design and implement integrated adult education and literacy programs. Financial support and capacity building for educators and facilitators will enhance the quality and reach of these initiatives. Public awareness campaigns can help break down the stigma associated with adult education, encouraging adults to embrace learning opportunities regardless of their age or background.

            It is in line with the above discussion that this study seeks to examine the role of adult education in promoting literacy education among adults in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In an ideal and equitable society, every adult residing within Pankshin Local Government Area would possess the essential literacy skills required to navigate the complexities of contemporary life. These skills would empower individuals to access information, participate actively in community activities, contribute effectively to the local economy, and make informed decisions that positively impact their own lives and those of their families.

Unfortunately, the present reality in Pankshin Local Government Area paints a starkly different picture. A significant portion of the adult population continues to grapple with limited literacy levels, restricting their ability to fully engage in a rapidly changing world. This deficiency encompasses challenges in reading, writing, numeracy, and digital literacy, which collectively hinder their potential for personal growth and community development.

Over the years, numerous well-intentioned efforts have been initiated to address the pressing issue of adult illiteracy in Pankshin Local Government Area. These initiatives have included community-based literacy programs conducted by local organizations, workshops hosted by educational institutions, and awareness campaigns led by government bodies and non-governmental organizations. These endeavors have aimed to create awareness, provide resources, and offer basic education to adults with limited literacy skills.

Despite the commendable intentions behind these initiatives, the problem of inadequate literacy levels among adults in Pankshin Local Government Area persists. While some marginal improvements have been observed in certain pockets of the community, the overall impact remains limited in addressing the widespread challenge of adult illiteracy.

The repercussions of limited literacy skills are far-reaching and multi-dimensional. Adults grappling with low literacy find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing vital information, ranging from healthcare instructions to legal documents. The inability to read and comprehend written materials inhibits their engagement in productive economic activities, leaving them vulnerable to poverty and limited opportunities for personal advancement. Additionally, the lack of literacy skills contributes to a sense of isolation, erodes self-esteem, and constrains their ability to participate in social and community interactions. The impact extends beyond the individual, affecting families, neighborhoods, and the community as a whole. A populace characterized by limited literacy levels hampers the region’s progress toward socio-economic growth, as the collective potential of individuals to contribute meaningfully to local industries and initiatives remains untapped.

Given the critical nature of the issue and the inherent challenges that persist, this research endeavors to delve into the multifaceted role of adult education in effectively promoting literacy among adults in Pankshin Local Government Area. It aims to systematically investigate the potential of adult education programs to address the unique barriers faced by individuals with limited literacy skills in the region.

While prior efforts have aimed at enhancing literacy, a comprehensive assessment of the specific contextual factors that influence the effectiveness of adult education programs within Pankshin Local Government Area is lacking. This research intends to bridge this knowledge gap by conducting an in-depth exploration of the challenges, opportunities, and potential strategies for improving adult literacy through targeted educational interventions. By identifying the gaps in existing approaches and understanding the nuanced needs of the community, the research aspires to propose innovative and tailored solutions that can yield more substantial and sustainable outcomes.

In light of the outlined concerns and the imperative for change, this study seeks to make a valuable contribution to the enhancement of literacy education among adults in Pankshin Local Government Area. Through rigorous inquiry, evidence-based analysis, and the exploration of best practices from both regional and global contexts, this research aims to inform the design and implementation of effective adult education programs. By doing so, it aims to empower individuals, foster community well-being, and pave the way for holistic socio-economic development in the region.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

            The main purpose of the study is to examine the role of adult education in promoting literacy education among adults in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State. Other specific objectives of the study are to:

  1. determine the current state of adult literacy education in Pankshin Local Government Area.
  2. find out the roles adult education programmes play in promoting literacy level among the adults.
  3. determine factors that limit promotion of literacy education among adults through adult education programme.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The primary beneficiaries are the adult learners themselves. The study’s findings can guide the development of more effective and relevant adult education programs tailored to the needs of the learners in Pankshin Local Government Area. By gaining improved access to quality education, adult learners can enhance their literacy skills, opening up new opportunities for personal growth, employability, and active participation in their communities.

Schools, colleges, and adult education centers within Pankshin Local Government Area stand to benefit from the study. The insights gained can help these institutions design curricula and teaching methods that align with the unique requirements of adult learners. As a result, they can offer more impactful and engaging educational experiences, leading to better learning outcomes and increased enrollment.

The local government authorities in Pankshin can benefit from the study’s findings to make informed policy decisions related to adult education and literacy promotion. The study can provide evidence-based recommendations for allocating resources, improving infrastructure, and formulating policies that enhance the literacy landscape within the local government area.

The study can serve as a valuable resource for community leaders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on literacy and education initiatives. It can offer insights into effective strategies and best practices that can be integrated into their programs, enabling them to better serve the needs of the adult population in Pankshin.

An increase in adult literacy can positively impact the local economy by creating a more skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Employers benefit from having employees with improved literacy skills, leading to enhanced productivity and innovation within various industries.

Improved adult literacy can have a ripple effect on families and social networks. Adults with enhanced literacy skills can actively engage in their children’s education, helping break cycles of intergenerational illiteracy. Additionally, they can contribute more effectively to community activities, social interactions, and civic engagement.

The study’s findings can contribute to the body of knowledge on adult education, literacy promotion, and their interconnections. Researchers, scholars, and academics interested in similar topics can use the study’s insights as a foundation for further research and exploration.

1.5 Scope of the Study

The study will focus on examining the role of adult education in promoting literacy education among adults in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State, Nigeria. The primary geographic scope of the research will be limited to Pankshin Local Government Area. The study will encompass various aspects related to adult literacy, including the current state of adult literacy , the roles adult education programmes play in promoting literacy level among the adults and factors that limit promotion of literacy education among adults through adult education programme. However, the findings of the study can be generalized to other parts of the state and country as a whole.

1.6 Research Questions

The study is guided by the following research questions:

  1. What is the current state of adult literacy education in Pankshin Local Government Area?
  2. What are the roles adult education programmes play in promoting literacy level among the adults?
  3. Which factors limit promotion of literacy education among adults through adult education programme?

1.7 Operational Definitions of Terms

Adults: In the context of this study, adults are individuals who have reached a certain age beyond formal schooling years, typically 18 years and older. They are characterized by their diverse life experiences, responsibilities, and learning needs.

Literacy Skills: These encompass the ability to read, write, comprehend, and communicate effectively using written and sometimes digital forms of communication. It includes the proficiency to interpret and critically analyze written information, enabling individuals to participate in meaningful social, economic, and civic activities.

Adult Education Programs: These are structured and organized initiatives designed to facilitate learning and skill development. Adult education programs are tailored to the needs and characteristics of adult learners, often offering flexibility in terms of schedules, content, and delivery methods.

Functional Literacy: This refers to literacy skills that are not only acquired but also applied in practical, everyday situations. Functionally literate individuals can use their literacy skills to accomplish tasks, make informed decisions, and engage in activities that contribute to personal and community development.

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Bank Name: United Bank of Africa (UBA)
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Amount: ₦3000