An assesment of forms of participation in adult literacy programmes in community development centres of lusaka district

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Hamainza, Viola
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University of Zambia
The focus of this study was to assess the forms of learner participation in adult literacy programmes among Community Development Literacy Centres in Lusaka district. Specifically, the study sought to address the following objectives to: examine the forms of participation in adult literacy programmes; establish factors that influence forms of participation in adult literacy programmes and explore measures that can enhance the quality of participation in adult literacy programmes. This study was carried out in seven (7) Community Development Centres of Lusaka District that offer adult literacy programmes. A descriptive research design was adopted for the study. Data was collected from a total of eighty-four (84) respondents broken down as follows: seventy (70) adult learners in community development centres, seven (7) adult literacy instructors (ALI) and seven (7) community development officers (CDO) coordinating literacy centres. The respondents were purposively selected. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect data from the learners while interviews were held with the CDO and ALI of the respondents. Data from the closed ended items of the questionnaire were manually analysed using descriptive statistics and presented in forms of frequency means and percentages using frequency tables. The data from open ended items of the questionnaire and interviews were classified, thematically analysed and presented in matrix tables. The findings of the study showed that five main forms of participation emerged from participants` description of how they are involved in their learning. These were: group exercise, group discussion, whole lesson summarizing and opinion giving and teaching others. When forms of participation were subjected to a participation measurement scale it was revealed that the participation levels by students were generally ranging between low and medium levels of participation. There were three factors that influenced participation namely: roll call, payment of fees and the demands of the curriculum. The roll call made by instructors during class sessions encouraged learners to attend literacy classes; payment of fees in functional literacy classes lowered the participation rates compared to the basic literacy which attracted no fees. The additional requirements of the curriculum limited learner participation in decision making, planning and evaluation of learning activities. Measures aimed at enhancing participation as cited by respondents were: modification of the curriculum to permit learner participation in various aspects of their learning processes; pre-service and in-service training of adult literacy instructors in the teaching of adults was a vital component and addressing the multiple roles of learners such as mothering responsibilities through provision of support facilities such as provision of crèche while attending classes. The findings of this study showed mixed forms of participation. Classroom participation was generally high and in line with the principles of adult education. The forms of participation cited by learners were those recommended by adult education theorists such as group discussion and group exercise. However, at higher levels of the participation scale such as decision making and evaluation of the learning process there was no learner participation. The study, therefore, recommends that in order to enhance participation, the instructors should be trained while adult education programmes should be designed in line with the principles of adult education. Keywords: forms of participation, facilitation techniques, measuring participation
Adult education--Zambia , Functionality literacy