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This study examines the role of private agencies in the promotion of mass literacy campaign in Oredo Local Government Area. Private agencies was seen as playing a complementary role with the government agencies in mass literacy crusade aimed at eradicating illiteracy from the locality and the society in general. The instruments used for gathering the data were: questionnaire, oral interview and documentary sources. The study was based on the assumption that the participation of private agencies in the promotion of mass literacy campaign is a strategy designed to increase the literacy level of Oredo Local Government area and to achieve literacy for all by the year 2020. From the data collected and analyzed, the following findings were made: there is harmonious relationship between private and public agencies in mass literacy campaign aimed at eradicating illiteracy from the society. There are increase in the enrolment figure and grandaunts from private literacy centres over the years in Benin City. This has contributed to the general literacy level of the society. The average class size of private literacy centres is below 30 participants and the teacher – participants ratio is 1:25. Private literacy centres in Oredo Local Government Area are under funded and the sources of finance are participants’ fee and donations from individuals.




Background to the Study

The ancient Benin Kingdom is believed to have existed about 900 A.D. Oral historical evidence indicates that during the periods of the empire, Obas (kings) of Benin sent their sons as vassals to some parts of what is now known as Edo and Delta States to establish their authority in those areas. People from Benin that migrated to some of these areas have ancestral connections with the Oba of Benin. Oredo Local Government Area was created in 1976 from the area formerly called Benin Division in the Old Mid-Western State. Today, Oredo Local Government Area is one of the fourteen local government areas of Edo state. It shares a common boundary with five local government areas (Orhionmwon, Uhunmwode, Ovia South-West, Ovia North-East of Edo State  and Ethiope Local Government Area of Delta State). Oredo Local Government Area is made up of twelve wards, they are: G.R.A./Oko, Ogba, Ogbe, Ogida, Uselu, New Benin, Ogbeson, Etete, Ologbo, Irimwinhin, Ugbekun, and Oka wards.

Oredo Local Government Area have a population of seven hundred and eighty thousand, nine hundred and seventy-six (780, 976) people from 1991 population Census. The people have a common ancestry with the same custom, belief and culture, the Benin Cultural identity is manifest in their festivals, religious and marriage ceremony. Edo language is the mother tongue of the people of Oredo local government area. Edo language has a dialectic similarities with Etsako, Ishan and Owan languages. English language is the official language of communication. Oredo Local Government Area has a tropical climate characterized by the dry and rainy seasons. November to April, is the dry season while, the rainy season commences from April and last till October with a brief dry spell in August. There is harmattan from December to February. The average annual rainfall in the locality ranges from 150cm to 180cm. the range of temperature is between 39oc and 44oc.

Benin City is the Headquarters of Oredo local Government Area as well as the capital of Edo state. The ancient city of Benin is neat and well developed. It has some good roads, and its town planning and general view are among the best in the country. The Oba’s Palace is located at Adesogbe Streets (King Square), Benin City. The City is surrounded by moat, several meters deep, dug by the early Obas to ward off invaders and to prevent mass exodus of people.

Educational, medical, transport, telecommunication, catering facilities and ultra modern Oba Market are available in Benin City. Other social and cultural institutions in Benin are  the University of Benin, Edo Broadcasting, Service, cultural centre, press centre, Urhuokpota Hall, Central Hospital Ikpoba River Dam, National Museum and Ogba zone. There are several braches of commercial banks, seven community banks, a branch of the Peoples Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). As a commercial town, Benin City serves as the gate-way between the East West and Northern parts of the country with good road network.

A master-plan for transforming Benin into a modern city has been drawn up by government has been designed and is being executed. Benin City, the Heart of the ancient Benin Empire, is the centre of arts and culture and the cradle of civilization. Its brass-works cravings and terracotta enjoy world-wide acclaim. There is a museum, a crafts shop (Edo Crafts Shop) and an arts and crafts school in the city. Artists and craftsman such as blacksmiths, cloth-weavers, basket makers and potters can be found in Benin City. Igun Street in Benin City is popularly known for its ancient crafts and blacksmith work.

Oredo Local Government Area is blessed with several educational institutions both public and private. According to the educational statistics 1992/1993 academic year, published by the Department of Educational Planning, Research and Statistics of Edo State Ministry of Education, there are 196 public primary schools in Oredo Local Government Area, 43 public secondary school: 75 private primary school; 42 private secondary school: 137 registered Nursery schools approved commercial schools and 20 technical/ vocational institutions. The two campuses of the University of Benin are also located in Oredo Local Government Area.

The Institute of Continuing Education is also established in Benin City. In realization of the importance of literacy in national development, the National Mass Literacy Campaign was launched on 8th September, 1982. The World Literacy Day was launched in Bankot the capital of Tare- Land on 8th September, 1990. The year 1990 became the international literacy year and the world literacy day is celebrated 8th September of every year. Consequently, the United Nations Educational and Scientific Council (UNESCO), has declared the year (1990-2000) as the international decade for eradication of illiteracy all over the world. The Mass Literacy Campaign was simultaneously launched by the Chairman of Oredo Local Government Council on 8th September, 1982.

In promotion of mass literacy campaign in Oredo local Government Area, there are adult literacy organizes in both the council’s office and the Local Ministry of Education. They help to organizes and co-ordinate adult literacy programme in the locality. Consequently, adult literacy and evening classes are organized in designated centre in some primary schools in Oredo Local Government Area, to create general awareness of the programme, an enlightenment campaign was embarked upon by Oredo Local Government Council through literacy jungles on radio and the mobile information service to reach the people at the grassroots level.

This afforded many illiterates adults including market women, the opportunity to have a second chance, as are and time were no longer barriers to education. The adult literacy programme is jointly financed by the local, state and federal government. The programme is co-ordinating at the state level through the agency for adult and non-formal education. The curriculum essentially consists of English language, Arithmetic, Religious Studies, Social Studies, Elementary Science, and Central Knowledge which is basically aim at exposing the teachers to the 3R’s- reading, writing and arithmetic.

Private agencies also championed the course of mass literacy campaign in Oredo Local Government Area. The private agencies consist of private proprietors, churches, Islamic organizations, National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS), Social and voluntary Associations. Some of these private agencies found in Oredo Local Government Area are:

1.  Private individual: Adult Primary and G.C.E. Schools, Pre G.C.E. Examiners Schools of Reading and Writing proprietors of private vocational institutes, private secondary schools and commercial schools.

2.  Churches: Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), Central Baptist Church Literacy Class, New Benin Baptist Church Adult literacy Centre, Faith Model School; Benin United Baptist Church; Holy Cross Cathedral; St. Mathew Cathedral.

3.  Islamic Organization: Centre Mosque, Ring Road, Benin city, Atmadiyya Moslem mission along Edebiri Street, Back of Ogbe Stadium and Iyaro Mosque by Lawani Junction, Benin city.

4.  Voluntary and Social Associations: National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS), Police Officer Wives Association Vocational Education Centre (POWAVEC) and better life for rural women craft shop.

Statement of the Problem

It is widely acclaimed that literacy enhances national development and that development can only strive in a literacy society, then if the above assertion is true, why is there still high tending of citizen at large shunning this rare opportunity of private agencies in the promotion of mass literacy, because there is still high gap between the educated and less educated one, therefore it is against this background that these research tries to find out the following reasons behind this problem which are:

1.  Is the problem of lack of under funding threatening the private agencies.

2.  What is the level of commitment between the adult literacy programme from subordinate agencies

Research Questions

1.  What role do private agencies play in the promotion of mass literacy campaign in Oredo Local Government Area?

2.  What is the enrolment figure in the adult literacy programme from private agencies?

3.  How are private agencies financed to enhance effective mass literacy campaign in Oredo Local Government Area?

It is on the above premise that this study will examine the ascribed role of private agencies in the promotion of mass literacy campaign in Oredo Local Government Area.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to find solution to the existing problems and ascertain the important role of private agencies in the promotion of mass literacy campaign is Oredo Local Government Area. Also to examine critically if there is significant increase in adult literacy enrolment in relations to the general literacy level of the inhabitants due to the involvement of private agencies in the promotion of mass literacy campaign in the locality.

Significance of the Study

It is hoped that the result and recommendation of the study would assist agencies in the promotion of mass literacy campaign in Oredo local government area. It is also the opinion of the researcher that the findings of this study will contribute immensely to human knowledge in the area of adult education vis-à-vis mass literacy campaign, finally, the study will form a base for further research.

Scope of the Study

This researcher is designed to cover Oredo Local Government Area which is located in Edo South Senatorial district with Benin City as its headquarters. There are twelve wards in the local government area, these are G.R.A./Oko, Ogba, Ogbe, Uselu, Ogida and New Benin. Other are Ogbeson, Etete, Ologbo, Irimwinhin, Ugbekun and Oka. The 2006 Census put the population as  374, 671 (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). The study is concentrated in Benin City and on the role of private agencies in the promotion of mass literacy campaign in Oredo Local Government Area.

Definition of Terms

To aid the readers understanding of the work, it is expedient to define the following concepts used in the study:

Private Agencies: This refers to non governmental agencies which are involved in the promotion of mass literacy campaign. They are voluntary bodies, institutions or associations which are privately gunned and funded for the purpose of providing literacy programme for adults and the youths.

Literacy: Is the ability to read, write and compute in a given language. In Nigeria, a person is regarded as literate when he is able to read, write and compute to an appreciable level in English Language. This is because English is the official language of communication and the language of instruction in schools.

Church: Is a building for Christian worship. Many churches establish schools to provides educational opportunity for its members.

Mosque: Is Islamic temple or a building for Islamic worship. Apart from providing religious instruction to its members, most mosques also build and equip educational instructions for the youths and adult members.

Adult Literacy Programme: Is an educational programme designed for the adult learners to teach them basic literacy skills of reading, writing and compute. It also includes functional literacy aimed at acquisition of vocational skills.

Social Organizations: These are voluntary associations which establish schools to complement government effort. They offer educational opportunity to their members to acquire basic and vocational skills needed for all round development. Such bodies include the National council of women’s societies, better life for rural women and co-operative societies.


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