Education is the industry that produces manpower for
the economy of nations. Therefore, education enhances manpower
development by improving the number and quality of human resource.
Bareday in Afonja (2003) says that education is truly a mirror of
the level of development and the aspiration of any people.
Education in general and functional literacy programmes in
particular are means of advancing people in terms of giving them
knowledge, skills attitudes necessary for expanding their potentials.
Akinpelu (2002) is the view that education programmes are
organized for learners who have pre-occupation or jobs other than
studying. Further words education is associated with vocational
occupation or professional stills of development.
Functional literacy is one step further from elementary literacy.
It refers to the ability to use the stills of reading writing and
computing in the acquisition of such information as would make the
individual function more actively and beneficially in the economics,
social, political psychological and cultural activities of the
community whether or she lives. Essentially, for any adults to
participate in any functional literacy programme there must be need for
it. Need and motivation are two important things that guide the adult
participants in functional literacy progrmmes. Literacy is seen as a
tool for developing skill, knowledge and attitudes for the daily
survival of human persons. Therefore, literacy is an educational
process which aims at in calculating in the individuals the ability to
read and write and to carry out basic calculations.
Literacy could be seen as the ability to function better in one’s
social context. Thus, literacy is aimed at enhancing one’s
understanding of the society in which one is required to assume a
UNESCO (2011) defined it as the ability to identify. Understand,
interpreted create, communicate, compute and use printed and written
materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a
continue of learning by individuals to achieve their goals to develop
their knowledge and potential and to participate fully in their
community and wider society.
Oduaran (1991) defined functional literacy as one step further up
from elementary literacy. It refers aptly to the ability to sue the
skills of reading, writing and computing that would benefit the
Beder (1990) and Thompson (1992) identified self improvement,
family responsibilities, job participation, advancement, urging by
other people, social expectations and relationships, escape from bore
dome and stimulation and cognitive interest as a basic motivation.
Needs attract the attach adults to take part in functional literacy programmes and
- Safety, stability and security
- Belongingness (social affiliation love)
- Self esteem
- Self – actualization
The above hierarchy of needs make us understand
why adult learners participate in functional literacy programs. For
instance an adult learner who lacks social and economic rewards tend to
participate in functional literacy programems so as to improve these
needs he years to have and for growth and development of self.
The tension and problems learners encounter in his environment or
working place will motivate him to learn more so as to find a solution
to the tension and problems. He participates in functional literacy
programmes so as to improve safety, security for himself, whether in
his job or environment.
The learning needs of adult learners vary according to their
social roe. Adults who newly arrive at working age will be obsessed
with learning how to make a living, a woman with young learning how to
make a living; a woman with young children will be interested in
domestic matters and in the children’s education. So also a member of a
church choir will be interested in learning music better.
The individual as an adult learner has a need that is sometimes
termed self-fulfillment or self actualization. Some adult learners may
wish to develop skills in their work which will enable them excel or in
other skills from which they may derive satisfaction and recognition
such as in sports or in domestic practice like sewing or cooking. Some
may wish to enhance their social standing cultivate new social
relationships and feel the need for learning how to achieve such needs.
There are some adult learners which may have last on educational
opportunities in the past may feel incomplete as persons unless they
fill what they see as gaps in their knowledge and education.
The behavior of adult learners is a given environment is aimed at
fulfilling basic want or needs which vary at a given time. The need
to improve on one’s job, further knowledge or education, to improve
social status, for socialization, mental improvement psychological
capability, political orientation, religious improvement, awareness etc
will motivate adult learners to participate in functional literacy
programmes. The adult learners to participate in functional literacy
programs. The adult learners can be a spouse, parents, works, young
adults etc. if these needs that motivate them to participate in
functional literacy programmes are met, they can be satisfied in the
aspect of growth and development for themselves and the society in
which they live.
The attitude of the adult educator can also motivate adult learners to enroll in functional literacy programmes.
Availability of the facilities in the environment where it is
located can also encourage earners to participate in literacy programs.
Because adult learners are motivated by what they see, how they are
treated thereby causing growth and development.
Statement of the Problem
There has been a rapid increase in the participation of adult
learners in functional literacy programmes in recent years. This is
evident in the high rate of adult learner’s enrolment in functional
literacy programmes in Benin metropolis taking advantage of centres
offering such programmes. Inspite of the various tasks which adult
learners who participate addles with, they still avail themselves with
these learning and activities or opportunities what then could be the
motivating factors. To what extent do these factors serve as
determinants of adult learner’s participation in functional literacy
The focus of this study is to determine the factors which motivate
adult learner’s participation in functional literacy programmes in
- What are adult learner’s objectives in participating in functional literacy programmes?
- To what extent does adult learner’s social interaction or
relationship influence their participation in functional literacy
- To what extent do adult learners psychological
characteristics serve as determinants of adult learner’s participation
in functional literacy programmes?
- Do responsibility and personal life factors motivate adult learner’s participation in functional literacy programmes?
- To what extent do adult learners economic reasons influence their participation in literacy programmes?
Purpose of Study
This study seeks to find out the factors motivating adult
learner’s participation in functional literacy programmes in Benin
metropolis. It is to seek the factors enhancing or propelling adult
learners to take part in functional literacy programmes.
Factors like physiological and basic human factors or needs
motivate the adult learners to take part. They take part to seek
improvement for what they feel is not fully actualized, until it is
fully actualized. The need will continue to bother the adult learners.
The study is to know these needs or drives so that the adult
educator can be well equipped and prepared on how to teach the adult
learners. Cope with them and any situation they might have and to
motivate and help them find solutions to those problems. Thereby
bringing about growth, change in behavior of the learners and the
society to which they belong.
The following assumptions were made in the study;
- If adults learners needs like physiological needs are not met. It can greatly affect their participation in adult learning.
- If adult educators who understand these needs of adult learners are not available, it will greatly affect the learners.
- If programmes designed are not fully exposed to adult learners, they will greatly affect their participation.
- If the learning environment is not harmonious and peaceful, it will have negative effects on the adult learners.
- The methodological issues if not carried out properly. It
can affect adult learner’s participation in functional literacy
Significance of the Study
The study’s findings is to help policy makers both public and
private institutions in providing appropriate functional literacy
programmes for adult learners to enable them keep a breast of social,
economic political, psychological and educational changes.
It is the adult educator’s missions in helping adult learners
learn what will gratify their needs at whatever level they may be
struggling. Therefore, if adults are hungry, they should be helped to
learn what will give them food, if they are well-fed, safe, loved and
esteemed, they must be helped to explore undeveloped capabilities and
become fully equipped.
Therefore, the federal government of Nigeria realizing that the
only way to transform every area in the country into an advance state
and to eradicate literacy, empower citizens is to direct its policy
towards equal and adequate educational opportunities for all citizens by
creating literacy centres that will promote functional literacy
programmes for growth and development.
It is therefore very important to determine the factors that
motivate adult learners to participate in functional literacy
Scope of Study
The study is limited to the geographical area of Benin metropolis.
It covers specifically adult learners of some selected functional
literacy centers who participate in functional literacy programmes.
Definition of Terms
For the purpose of this study the key concepts used are defined below!
- Adult learners: Mature individuals who participate in a learning situation that will bring about changes.
- Education: A process of teaching, training and learning made to improve on knowledge, behavior and to develop skills
- Literacy: It is an instrument for acquiring relevant
knowledge and skills required for development, literacy is the ability
to read and understand a simple text, and to use and transmit written
information of everyday life. It is an activity embedded in social and
- Functional literacy: The ability to use the skills of
reading, writing computing in the acquisition of basic information for
development. Also, the use of adult education to acquire knowledge and
skills to meet individual’s needs and foster national development.
- Motivation: It is the management function that stimulates
individuals to accomplish set down instructional or organization goals.
It is an intrinsic drive towards the fulfillment of personal needs and
the improvement of one’s perceived status, it is influenced strongly
by extrinsic factors.
- Literacy programmes: It refers to the programmes designed to
enhance the skills, and development. It is also a systematic planned
activities intended to equip and individual participants to become
skillful in the ability to read, write and compute to an appreciable
Learning situation. Adult educators should
endeavour to translate both the basic human needs and educational needs
into interest so as to motivate the adults into participating more in
functional literacy programmes.
Knowles, stress that the highest expression of the act of the
adult educator is skills in helping adult learners to discover and
become interested in meeting their needs.
Freire (1991) is of the view that in knowing learners needs will
enable them organize themselves, translate their needs into interest in
order to improve on the aspirations of their potentials.
It should be noted that people differ I need the specific needs of
the adults should be given in the area of content, methodology and
Motivation is a psychological concept which explains what exactly
propels human beings to voluntarily undertake specific actions.
Psychologists differ in their definition of motivation. They define it
as drives, needs, incentives reinforcement, energizer, goal and
Barelson (2004) defined motivation as an inner state that
energizes, activates, moves, directs or channel behavior to exert high
level of efforts or channel behavior to exert high level of efforts
towards some set goals conditioned by efforts, ability to satisfy some
Motivation determines largely when an adult learners want to learn
and how much far he will not respond to any stimulus unless he is in a
state of need and feels he can himself, by responding.
As a matter of fat, man’s need must be motivated so that he can be
satisfied with himself, his job and his environment he lives.
Maslow and Murray two psychologists identified some basic human needs.
Murray a cognitive theorist sees internal structure as the basis
of human behavior. Thus when the brain is internally instigated, it
organizes other psychological processes.
He classified motives into two major categories of primary needs
and secondary needs. The primary needs in basic requirements for living
/ such as the need for intake of food, water, air, the need for
excretion and exhalation and the need for withdrawal (for safety) when
faced with anger.
The secondary needs include the desire to control and influence
others, desire to admire some one else, need for independence and need
to fight. He further theories that at a given time some needs. Remain
until they are satisfied. Murray postulated that needs come to the fore
ad expresses themselves with ore urgency than others. Murray was the
first need theorist of motivation.
Maslow in his principles of motivation has highlighted that human
beings are active beings whose behaviours are agitated or propelled by
some potent forces.
He calls the forces organismicaly based needs. He postulated that
unsatisfied need creates tension within an organism thereby serving as a
force to direct behavior towards reduction of the tension.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs consists of need for foods, shelter,
health, clothing, transportation education. They need for
transformation of experiences and awareness of reality for adult
learners and societal benefit.
In the area of economic and physical need. This motivate the
learner to participate in any of the functional literacy programmes
because it will provide the knowledge for their need to be solved.
The adult learners want to be economically balanced that is to
upgrade their skills and employability gives the need for their
participation in functional literacy.
They also participate to meet employment expectations. Adult
learners are encouraged because they want to be more acceptable and
also to guarantee solution for the quest for a change in job and to
reduce poverty. In order words to meet their immediate needs.
Learning on the part of adult learners is supplemental and
secondary to their primary role in the society. As soon as they
identify the needs, they strive towards its fulfillment. They
participate due to political need. If ne is not wise politically, their
rights and privileges might be trampled upon.
The need or the driving force towards their participation in
functional literacy programmes. They want to be responsible citizens
and live right. The need for mutual interpersonal relationship in a
community motivates their participation so that there will be
development and executive of policies for the community.
The motive of adult learner’s participation functional literacy
programmes is to bring about solution of their felt needs. Adult
learners desire a need and they are interested in the programmes in
order to develop in their lives. The comfortability of the venue can
also motivate adult learner’s participation in functional literacy
The adult learners are group of individuals that need to be
gratified; the need can be socially, educational – economic political,
psychological, physical needs and also technological needs. If these
needs are met, they can function meaningfully in the society they