The Role of Adult Literacy Programmes as Agents of Change in a Neo Liberal Environment

Dr. Willy Ngaka,
Richard Dranda Geria
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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
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Willy Ngaka

Doctoral Student, School of Comm. Dev. & Adult Learning, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban, South Africa

Willy Ngaka holds two masters degrees (Public Administration & Management, and Adult & Community Education). He is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, but used to lecture Literacy, Rural Development and Project Management at Makerere University. He coordinates the Project Management component of the MSc. Programmes (in Development Studies, and Natural Resources Management for Sustainable Agriculture), of the Agricultural University of Norway and Makerere University. He is a member of the International Association for Community Development, International Reading Association (IRA), Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, and the Golden Key International Honour Society. His Doctoral Research on “The Role of Literacy in Enhancing Capabilities for Participation in Uganda’s Plan for Modernization of Agriculture: Exploring the Experiences of Rural Subsistence Farmers in Manibe Sub County” has won IRA’s Prestigious Elva Night’s Research Grant Competition for year 2006, making him the first Ugandan and fourth African Scholar to win it in the last 25 years. His intellectual focus is on the linkage between literacy and issues of sustainable development, and he teaches Qualitative research methods, Development Administration, Project management, Natural Resources Management, and Adult Literacy and Community Education. He is also an associate editor for International Journal of Learning.

Richard Dranda Geria

Director, Basic Literacy, Adult Literacy and Basic Education Centre (ALBEC)
South Africa

Currently, Mr. Geria who holds B.Educ and Diploma in Adult Education, is the director of ALBEC. He is active participant in issues of adult literacy and works closely with ministry of gender, labour and social development.

Ref: I07P0014