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Adult education is not a new concept in Nigerian history. Traditional adult education is the most ancient form of adult education, dating back to the beginnings of any human community; this adult education may be said to be as old as creation. Adult education in Nigeria, like other forms of education, was never neglected in traditional society, though it was rarely discussed.

Adult education for working-class adults was organized in the early 1920s. Even then, progress was slow, and by the time Nigeria gained independence in 1960, it was discovered that large percentages of Nigeria adults were still illiterate. Adult education, as defined by UNESCO, is:

A process in which people who no longer attend school on a regular and full-time basis (unless full-time programs are specially designed for adults) engage in sequential and organized activities with the conscious intention of bringing about change in information, knowledge, understanding, or skills appreciation and attitude, or for the purpose of identifying and solving personal and community problems, has gone down in Nigeria education history as one of the most dynamic.

Between 1950 and 1960, Nigerian leaders made daring attempts to provide primary education to the majority of children as well as the majority of adults. Following World War II, the government and people of Nigeria recognized the importance of mass education. The Lagos Department of Education issued a memorandum on fundamental education for adults working in commerce and industry in 1949.

The document served as a guide for the organization, administration, and curriculum of adult education mass education projects and community development schemes in the then-western divisions of Ilano, Egbado, Ibadan, Ekiti, and Ijebu, as well as the eastern divisions of Udi and Afikpo and Lagos.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo makes the case for enlightened citizens, saying, “To educate the children and enlighten the illiterate adults is to lay a solid foundation not only for future social and economic progress, but also for political stability.” In my opinion, one of the most powerful deterrents to dictatorship, oligarchy, and feudal autocracy is a truly educated citizenry. In November 1951, the Central Board of Education approved a national policy on adult education that stated:

1. The primary goal of adult education is to organize facilities for adult remedial primary education, particularly in rural areas.

2. The first goal of all adult education activities is to assist illiterates in reading and writing in their native language, thereby enriching their own minds and allowing them to participate intelligently in social, economic, and political development.

3. The adult education program should include activities such as home craft for women, discussions, and practical community improvement projects.

4. Women should receive special consideration in adult education programs.

5. The regional government should make concerted efforts to coordinate the activities of the genesis concerned with adult education.

There was a lot of enthusiasm among the people and the governments of the three regions (North, East, and West) at the time, and adult education sprung up all over Nigeria, especially between 1950 and 1956. In the then-western region, production of Yoruba and Benin language readers and strips began, as did the introduction of film and strips via mobile film units and special classes for women.

In the then-Northern Region, an adult literacy program operated in fifty-three (53) areas, with a total of one thousand, four hundred and seventy-seven (1,477) centers and over fifty-three thousand (53,000) adults enrolled. According to Baba Fafunwa (1974), successful adult students received six thousand five hundred and ninety one (6,591) literacy certificates in 1952 alone.

R. E. Chadwick, the then-district officer in Udi division of the then-Eastern Region, was an early pioneer of adult literacy and community development in Nigeria, organizing literacy classes on market days with the help of local teachers. He also got village heads and leaders involved in community activities.

His efforts were documented in a popular film called “Day Break” in Udi in the early 1950s. This Eastern scheme received widespread acclaim in Nigeria, and the East became a model for organized community development and self-help for the entire country.

The then-western region’s free primary education scheme and the East’s half-fee-paying scheme dampened enthusiasm for the adult education scheme. This was due to the prohibitively expensive nature of free primary education, which left little money for adult education. Because the Northern Region lacked a free universal primary education program, it was able to spend more money on adult literacy.

Thus, while adult education schemes in the East and West were at their lowest ebb in the 1960s, they were intensified in the North. This situation presented a challenge to the Nigerian government as it sought to modernize its society. According to Ashiedu (1979),

The prevalence of illiterate citizens in Africa’s various countries Nigeria, in particular, is a bottleneck in any country’s development efforts, impeding political, social, and economic progress. In full recognition of this, Nigeria has developed over the years strategies for the eradication of mass illiteracy, a campaign that will finally drive a nail through the head of the country’s illiteracy problem.

In Nigeria, studies in the planning and implementation of literacy programs were not considered a prestigious part of the university work unit until recently. However, research on literacy has been encouraging since the 1970’s, especially when UNESCO began to pioneer functional literacy projects and as the provision of free adult literacy as contained in the 1979 Nigerian constitution following the government’s seriousness on the eradication of mass illiteracy was the releasable provision.

a. To provide functional literacy education to adults who have never had the benefit of formal education.

b. To provide functional and remedial education to young people who have dropped out of the formal school system.

c. To provide additional education to various categories of formal education system graduates in order to improve their fundamental knowledge and skills.

d. To provide on-the-job vocational and professional training for various categories of workers and professionals in order to improve their skills.

e. To provide adult citizens of the country with the necessary aesthetic, cultural, and civic education for public enlightenment.

f. To ensure the execution and implementation of the adult education objectives outlined in the national education policy.

In 1982, the federal government launched a mass literacy campaign in the country with the goal of illiterating the majority of Nigerians and promoting the causes of adult education in general. Because the research study is attempting to identify the problem affecting adult education programs in the Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State, a background knowledge of the area’s geography is required.

Ovia North East Local Government Area is one of Edo State’s (18) eighteen local government areas; therefore, knowledge of the area’s geography is essential. It is almost at the very beginning of Edo State, bordered by other local government areas, Ovia South West Local Government and Egor Local Government Area. Its primary tribe is the Edo Language. Farming and trading are the people’s main occupations, with staple food crops such as yam, cassava, maize, and vegetables.

Ovia North East Local Government Area in Edo State has approximately 100 (hundred) primary schools, 52 secondary schools, one private university, one polytechnic, and one College of Education; as a result of these and other developments, her population has become dense. To bring education to the area in the early 1950s, which is still facing many challenges for its grass room implementation, which the study aims to identify.


In one area of Western Education, Ovia North East Local Government Area had made tremendous progress. Few primary schools were established by both the government and missionaries in the first three decades of this century, and today the local government has many primary and post-primary schools, as well as tertiary institutions.

Despite the remarkable progress and improvement made in the local government area of Western Education, the entire local population did not take advantage of the opportunity, resulting in approximately 60% of the adult population, both males and females, being illiterate. The local government limited adult education programs, which today is faced with many problems such as;

a. A scarcity of professionally qualified and experienced adult educators.

b. Inadequate primers and reference materials.

c. Inconsistent attendance of adult and peer government (federal, state, and local) participation in the programs.

The researcher would also like to recommend measures that will reduce, if not eliminate, the issues that are impeding the improvement and progress of the adult education program in the Ovia North East Local Government Area.


The goal of this research is to look into the issues that are affecting the evaluation of adult education programs in the Ovia North East Local Government Area, with a focus on:

a. Instructors/Supervisors – Adult education instructors and supervisors’ qualifications and experience.

b. Primers/Text books – to determine how relevant the primers and test books are to the adult education program.

c. Library facilities – to determine how well-equipped the library was.

d. Teaching Aids- to determine how relevant the teaching aids are to the adult learners’ entry behavior.

e. Irregular attendance to determine the causes of adult participants, irregular attendance to classes

f. Determine the level of government participation in the adult education program.


The general assumption that underpins this study is that there are issues with the organization and teaching of adult literacy classes, as well as adult participants’ attendance of classes in the Ovia North East Local Government Area. As a result, the study is designed to test the following hypothesis.


1. There are insufficient qualified personnel for adult literacy programs in the Ovia North East Local Government Area.

2. There are no relevant premier and textbooks for adult literacy class participants.

3. There is insufficient publicity and mobilization for participants in adult education programs in the Ovia North East Local Government Area.

4. There are insufficient teaching materials and aids available for literacy classes.

5. Adult participants in literacy classes attend literacy classes on an irregular basis due to work commitments.


The study will go a long way toward exposing the issues affecting adult education programs in Edo State’s Ovia North East Local Government Area. The findings and recommendations will greatly contribute to the realization of the left effectives of adult education programs in Ovia North East Local Government Area in particular and Edo State I in general.

Thus, it is hoped or anticipated that, with the implementation of the suggested solutions by the authorities in charge of program conduct and organization, adult participants will receive the appropriate quality of adult education programs.


Throughout the country, various governments and organizations established various forms of adult education, such as continuing education institutions, extra-moral classes, functional literacy classes, community development classes, and literacy classes. However, because it would be difficult to extend this research to all aspects of adult education and all local government areas in Edo State, this study is limited to adult literacy classes in the Ovia North East Local Government Area.


a. Adult Education: In this context, adult education refers to education provided to those over the age of twenty one (21) years, male or female, who have not previously been exposed to any type of formal education or who were unable to complete their primary education.

b. Adult participants – Adults who attend literacy classes to receive instruction.

c. Instructor – Someone who teaches adults?

d. Organizer – A person who ensures that adult literacy or programs run smoothly.

e. Functional literacy – The use of adult education to acquire various types of knowledge and skills to meet individual needs and promote national development.

f. Primers – These are reading books (readers) for adults and children that depict every action with a pictorial illustration.



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