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Adult literacy and development in Sierra Leone : ideals and realities

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Title: Adult literacy and development in Sierra Leone : ideals and realities
Author: Bockarie, Abu Mohamed
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Educational Studies
Copyright Date: 1995
Subject Keywords Literacy -- Sierra Leone; Functional literacy -- Sierra Leone
Abstract: Developing successful 'literacy for development programmes' for adults remains a critical issue for many Third World policy makers and educators. The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze Sierra Leone's educational reform policies and practices between 1970 and 1992 with regard to adult literacy in order to understand the factors associated with the successful and unsuccessful outcomes of adult literacy programmes. The chief theoretical perspective that informed the research concerned the socio-economic, educational, historical and political ecology of adult literacy work. Literacy work was problematized as a complex process deeply rooted in a nation's social, economic and political structures. A conceptual framework depicting three analytic categories of factors associated with the successful and unsuccessful outcomes of adult literacy programmes in Third World societies was developed from an extensive review of literacy literature. These categories were labelled as macro-level factors, meso-level factors and micro-level factors. The 'orchestration' or 'combination' of all three analytic categories of factors was viewed as critical in in uderstanding the factors associated with the success and failure of adult literacy programmes operating in the country. The basic method of data collection was semi-structured interview. Other data sources included policy documents, official statistics and observations. The study found that seven principal factors were associated with the success and failure of adult literacy programmes. It was the conclusion of the study that: (i) international forces, social-historical features of Sierra Leone society as well as organisational and administrative support were as critical to the success or failure of adult literacy programmes as were the educational features and circumstances of illiterate adults; (ii) contrary to the rhetoric expressed in policy documents and pronouncements, the solutions to Sierra Leone's underdevelopment problems were probably beyond the reach of increased literacy per se to remedy and; (iii) in their current form, adult literacy programmes were probably functioning as instruments of the state and the nation's elites, contributing to the legitimation of government and elite authority. The implications of the study for policy, practice, theory and further research as well as the recommendations arising from it are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/8742
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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