ASSESSMENT OF EFFECTIVENESS OF EDUCATIONAL RADIO BROADCASTING FOR ADULT LITERACY IN LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
One major problem that has continued to affect the issue of development in most Third World countries is literacy level of the citizenry. This problem can be attributed to other problems like poverty and a national development that has failed to meet international standards. To achieve worldwide human development, 189-member states of the United Nations came together to develop eight international development goals known as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The aim of the MDGs was to promote development by improving social and economic conditions in the world’s poorest countries. Beyond setting the goals, the United Nations also set 2015 as dates for achieving the goals. The second goal on the MDGs targeted children, with the hope of ensuring that they complete a full course of primary schooling.
With prospect of education in Africa looking gloomy, world leaders again gathered in 2015 at the United Nations in New York to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The fourth agenda on the 2030 agenda for sustainable Development is “quality education for all”. With this agenda Lagos State (and by extension Nigeria) is once again given the opportunity to redirect its focus on education. But, if the country is to improve on its poor performance towards achieving education for all, it must avail itself of the use of every available channel to bring education to its entire citizenry.
As observed by Crossroads (2003) in a publication of the United Nation Embassy in Nigeria, education is the most “important way to approach community (national) development. A sound educational system is (the) prerequisite to achieving progress, from the individual to the society to the economy” (p.3). By implication, the quality of human resource of a nation is judged by the number of its literate population. This is to say that education is a must if a nation aspires to achieve growth and development and more importantly sustain it. Perhaps the most captivating view of the role of education in the reformation process is captured by Licuanan (2003):
At all levels of governance, a central role of education has been recognized in relation to poverty alleviation and social development. There is a universal consensus among policy makers on the correlation between education and employment, of literacy and economic productivity and of knowledge/skills and formation of social capital that can withstand the destabilizing effects of sudden economic and political changes. (p. 1)
Despite the ideals of the MDGs on education and the momentum of early stage of the Education for All (EFA) programme, United Nations in its Millennium Development Goals Report 2013 noted that “globally, 123 million young people are still unable to read or write” (p.14). The report further stated that in 2011, “57 million children of primary school age were out of school, down from 102 million in 2000” (p.14). The report also added that “globally, 123 million youth (aged 15 to 24) lack basic reading and writing skills; 61 per cent of them are young women” (p.14).
The situation is not different in Nigeria. Birdsall, Levine and Ibrahim (2005), explained that going by the millennium goal on education, “government is to ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary education” (p. 21). However, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) statistics on literacy level in Nigeria shows that, “there are over 62 million Nigerians who are illiterates as at November 2015, a situation the organization described as “dangerous to the development of the country” (Oluwole, 2015, para. 1).
To emphasize the magnitude of the problem, UNESCO also said “it would take Nigeria another 58 years to completely eradicate illiteracy, even with innovations like information and Communications Technology and other learning mechanisms” (Oluwole, 2015, para. 2). While identifying why illiteracy level is so high in the country, Animasaun (2013) noted that Nigeria’s budget allocation to education is a far cry to what its neighboring countries ear marked for education in their budget which invariably will make executing any meaningful project impossible. According to Animasaun (2013):
Nigeria’s annual average budgetary education expenditure during the last two decades was 5.8%, whereas Niger spent 28%; Côte d’Ivoire 30%; Burkina Faso 16.8%; Liberia 11.9%; Gambia 14.2%; Ghana 30%; South Africa, 19.3% of its annual budget on education, while Egypt committed 11.1% on average and Kenya 23%.So it is lunacy when you pay peanuts and expects gold nuggets (Animasaun, 2013, para. 8).
Writing on the 2014 Global Monitoring Report (GMR) on the literacy level of Nigeria and the country’s dismal commitment to the 1990 World Conference on Education for All (EFA) goals on education, The Daily Trust Online newspaper, wrote that the country recorded more illiteracy in 2008 than in 1991. The GMR, according to Daily Trust Online editorial, there are “17 million more illiterate adults in Nigeria in 2008 than there were in 1991, a staggering increase of 71 percent” (Daily Trust, 2015, para. 2). The paper in its editorial also noted that half of Nigerian adults (51 percent) are illiterate (Daily Trust Online, 2015, para.2).
Getting everyone to be literate meant using every available channel for teaching and learning. One of the channels available for learning is the mass media. The use of the media for educational purposes is based on the perceived influence the media can exert on the public. Of these functions two readily applies to the subject of discussion – transmission of values and education. Commenting on the transmission of values and function of the media, Sanusi (2011) noted that without the media, “events in history, traditions and customs of the people would have died with the past generation” (p. 148). The culture, customs and traditions of the people would have been lost if the media had not recorded history and from time to time relay it to the next generation. Dominick (2002) calls this functional socialization which he interprets to mean “the ways an individual comes to adopt the behavior and values of a group” (p. 40).
Schramm (1964) avers that the mass media are agents of social change and as such are expected to help accomplish transition to new customs and practices and, in some cases, to different social relationships. According to him, the mass media can be of help “in all forms of teaching, adult education, and skills training; where teachers, trainers, monitors are scarce, the media can carry a proportionally greater share of the instruction; and that once the basic skills have been learned, the media can provide further opportunities to learn” (p. 144).
Of these channels of mass communication the broadcast media is regarded as the most powerful agent of socialization. Radio with its audio element enables audiences to identify personally with its contents. Television on the other hand combines motion with the audio-visual elements, giving audiences a vivid experience. Scholars however have always advocated for the use of radio for teaching basic skills. But, if the country is to improve on its poor performance towards achieving education for all; if efforts to use television for education failed in the past (Onabajo, 2002; Moemeka, 1981) and if there is a consensus that radio can be used to teach basic skills (Schramm, 1964; Moemeka, 1981; Onabajo, 2002) the question then is how can radio be used effectively in the advancement of adult literacy in Lagos state?
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The benefit of education to the individual and the nation as a whole, according to Brabzon (2007) is to provide “alternatives, answers, views and trajectories in an environment of blame and grievances” (p. 149). With three million non-literate adults in Lagos State, radio becomes a veritable medium to teach such adults who, as a result of their economic activities, may not have the opportunity of formal schooling, but how successful would using radio be.
Studies on past radio educational/instructional programme have revealed a dysfunctional use of radio for learning. Onabajo (2002) in a study of the rural people of Badagry in 1995, 1997 and 2000 found out that the people and their leaders were not consulted in the conceptualization, planning and execution of development programmes targeted at them. This dysfunctional media use is what Moemeka (1981) described as the “shot-in-the-dark approach to programming which leaves the target audience ‘forgotten’ while programmes are being planned, ‘remembered’ just before the programmes go on air, and ‘forgotten’ again as soon as the programs have been broadcast”(p.35). This dysfunctional approach to programming led to the inability of past educational radio broadcasting to achieve its objectives.
Again, while some studies (Schramm, 1964; Moemeka, 1981; Sanusi, 2011; Chandar and Sharma, 2003;) have explored and established the use of the broadcast media in education, other studies have examined the use of radio in the classroom from the perspectives of curriculum integration and communication skilthis ls (ERIC Digest, 1999). There are however, scarcity of studies on the use of radio for teaching and learning targeting adult learners. This study therefore set out partially to fill this gap.
In view of the above issues, the study attempted to assess the role of radio in educational broadcasting particularly in adult literacy skill acquisition in Lagos State; the participation of the various organizations and learners in the production, transmission and evaluation of instructional programme to ascertain whether radio can effectively be used to teach and improve the literacy skill of adult learners in Lagos State.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study is to examine the effectiveness of the use of radio in adult literacy skill acquisition. The specific objectives are to:
1. examine the pattern of use educational radio broadcasting among adult learners in Lagos State;
2. examine the influence of educational radio broadcasting on literacy skills acquisition among adult learners in Lagos State;
3. investigate the influence of frequency of educational radio broadcasting use on literacy
4. examine the influence of gender on literacy skill acquisition among adult learners in Lagos State.
5. examine the influence of age on literacy skill acquisition among adult learners in Lagos State based on age;
6. determine if there is any form of cooperation among the various organizations in the conception, production and evaluation of instructional content.
7. determine the extent to which learners’ participation is encouraged.
1.4 Research Questions
This study answered the following research questions:
1. What is the pattern of educational radio broadcasting used among adult learners in Lagos?
2. To what extent does educational radio broadcasting influence literacy skills acquisition among adult learners in Lagos State?
3. To what degree does frequency of educational radio broadcasting influence literacy skills acquisition among adult learners in Lagos State?
4. To what extent does gender influence literacy skill acquisition among adult learners in Lagos State?
5. To what extent does age influence literacy skills acquisition among adult learners in Lagos State?
6. To what extent are the agencies involved in the conception, production and evaluation of instructional content?
7. To what extent is learner’s participation encouraged?
The following hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance:
Ho1 There is no significant influence of educational radio broadcasting on literacy skills acquisition among adult learners in Lagos.
Ho2 There is no significant difference in the level of skills acquisition among adult learners in Lagos State based on frequency of educational radio broadcasting.
Ho3 There is no significant difference in the level of skills acquisition among adult learners in Lagos State based on gender.
Ho4 There is no significant difference in the level of literacy skills acquisition among adult learners in Lagos State based on age.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The fact that there are more radio receiving sets in homes (Dominick, 2002) and because radio is believed to present huge opportunities for learning for the less privileged, this study was limited in scope to:
Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) targeting adult learners in Lagos State;
Men and women currently undergoing literacy skill training under the Lagos State Agency for Mass Education;
Radio Lagos Mooko Mooka – educational program designed to help adult learners learn how to read and write as well as improve them culturally and socially.
By virtue of the points two and three above, the study is limited to Lagos State. The researcher selected Lagos specifically because of its huge investment in the education of all and sundry resident in Lagos irrespective of their state of origin or nationality. For instance, in a Vanguard report filed in by Abayomi (2016) the Lagos State government reportedly disclosed that its N113.3bn education budget (representing 27.11% of the state’s budget) is about one-third of the N369bn budgeted by the Federal Government for the entire country (Vanguard online, 2016). The state government is also poised to upgrade infrastructure in all public schools.
The study covers a period of eight months. That is, the study covers the period of May to December, 2016. The Month of May was chosen as the starting point because it is believed that learners would have settled into the programme which usually takes off in January. In addition to that it is assumed that by May, learners who joined the program in January would have gone through a number of lessons to qualify for the survey exercise. December was chosen because classroom interaction ends in the month, and in addition to that the annual quiz completion is held in December to evaluate learners’ performance.
1.7 Significance of the Study
Past studies on educational broadcasting revealed a lack of cooperation amongst and within the various organizations involved in past educational programs. Studies have also revealed that such educational programs have ignored the target audience at every stage of the programme. The findings of this study will therefore provide empirical facts to operators and practitioners of communication in Lagos State and other states of the Federation on the need to involve the target audience at every stage of program production.
More importantly, the inherent dangers posed by the absence of cooperation among the various agencies involved in the conceptualization, production and execution of educational programs and subsequent failure to assess the success of the program collectively owing to lack of team spirit are those issues that are addressed in the study. As such the findings of this study would be beneficial to agents of development communication. Lastly, this work provides a platform for tertiary institutions offering mass communication to adopt practical approaches to courses in the broadcast sequence, especially courses bordering on educational broadcasting. The study would also add to the body of knowledge as well as provide springboard for future studies.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Educational Broadcasting: in this study, educational programs are those radio or television programs that either teach morals or values in an entertaining way (like drama, folklore among others) and those programs designed in line with formal school learning like Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Instructional programmes.
Instructional Media: simply refers to radio and television stations airing programmes with instructional intent.
Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI): IRI is a education system that combines radio broadcasts with active learning to improve educational quality and teaching practices.
Instruction: instruction is a deliberate arrangement of experience(s) to help a learner achieve a desirable change in performance.
Instructional Material: as used in this study, instructional material is a collection of item designed for teaching/learning. In this case the instructional material use for Mooko Mooka is called the primer.
Learning: learning is a lasting change in behaviors or beliefs that results from experience.
Listening: The researcher adopted the International Listening Association definition of listening which states that listening is the process of recognizing receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding too spoken and/or nonverbal messages.
Effectiveness: this refers to the outcome of listening to educational radio programme.
Illiteracy: As used in this study refers to those who can not read and write their language of communication
Literacy: literacy is the ability to read and write, with understanding, a short simple sentence about one’s daily life.
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