The Role of Adult Literacy Programmes as Agents of Change in a Neo Liberal Environment
In this paper, we examine the role of adult literacy programmes as agents of change in the current neo liberal environment, with special emphasis on the literacy programmes of Adult Literacy and Basic Education Centre (ALBEC) in Uganda. We analyze the characteristic features of neo liberalism as the major theoretical underpinning that influenced the conceptualization of the paper, and argue that in this rapidly globalizing era where market forces determine, not only who must remain in service provision, but also who is able to consume, most of the non literate adults who would wish to acquire literacy skills will be excluded from the services since adult literacy will only be accessible to those who have the ability to afford it. We discuss the opportunities, challenges and prospects of universal literacy from a right-based perspective as enshrined in the Hamburg declaration on adult learning and conclude that the success of adult literacy programmes in transforming our communities socio-economically greatly depends on the good will of the state, especially in terms of pro-adult literacy policies. We recommend that for non literate population to survive in this liberalized economy where everything is based on written proposals or plan documents, accounting documents and reporting based specific formats, a multi-stakeholder approach to designing policies that do not wholly relegate adult literacy provision into the hands of the private sector. Instead efforts should be made to promote private - public partnerships that would take into consideration the needs of the poor who cannot survive the forces of demand and supply.
Keywords: Adult Literacy, ALBEC, Challenges, Environment, Globalization, Literacy, Partnership, Neo Liberalism
Dr. Willy Ngaka
Doctoral Student, School of Comm. Dev. & Adult Learning, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Richard Dranda Geria
Director, Basic Literacy, Adult Literacy and Basic Education Centre (ALBEC)