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21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre


INTRODUCTION This paper aims to discuss the role that the state and international NGOs can play in developing education in the 21st century. It will particularly concentrate on the provision of adult literacy, a grossly under funded area of development. This work defines literacy as “the acquisition and use of reading, writing and numeracy skills” to support the “development of active citizenship” (Archer & Fry, 2005) and therefore empower people to expand their own freedoms and levels of consciousness (Sen, 1999, cited in Flores-Crespo, 2007 and Aksornkool, 2003). The essay begins by stating why education, and in particular adult literacy, is a crucial element of development. It then discusses the roles that both NGOs and the state can play in delivering adult literacy programmes, and finally considers how both agents could be involved in the provision of adult literacy in the 21st century.

21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre


1. THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN DEVELOPMENT Developing countries are „trapped‟ in poverty. In the context of a globalised market, where neoliberal values of productivity and wealth prevail, it is assumed that to break out will require investments in several types of capital, namely business, human, infrastructure, natural, knowledge and public institutions (Sachs, 2005). Most of these investments aim at meeting basic public needs but in market economies, the notion of public has become blurred. Whilst in the West the private sector is increasingly involved in public provisioning, in developing countries, this role has mainly been overtaken by NGOs (Abbott, 2006), the funding of which rely very often on delivering programmes that match goals set by „bilateral‟ and „multilateral‟










„conditioned‟ to make specific developmental choices by these same organisations. This mixture of interests poses a “problem of development as one of trusteeship” (ibid). However, states do have to perform certain basic functions: “the enactment of law, the protection of personal safety and public order, the protection of vested rights, the cultivation of hygienic, educational, social welfare, and other cultural interests, and the organised armed protection against outside attacks” (Weber, 1978:905). Development has two dimensions: first, that of large-scale economic, technological or political changes and self-improving processes at a global, regional and local level; second, that of the transformation of individuals as human beings through societal changes, which gives them a new perception of their ability to change their own lives and the lives of others (Thomas, 2004). Education is an essential element to both types of development. From an economic standpoint, more educated individuals earn more, consume more, and are more productive, leading countries to become more competitive (Schweke, 2004). From a socio-political angle, they are less welfare dependent and healthier (Appendix 1, p20), and are also more independent thinkers. This develops empowered citizens ready to challenge not only their own condition (e.g. gender equality) but the very idea of dependency (Nyerere, 1976 and Power, 2007), a precondition to “the making of modern [democratic] nations”, and to their 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre


ability to develop in a sustainable manner (Coleman, 1968:51, Scanlon, 2004 and Power, 2007). Despite increasing levels of literacy in developing countries, “the absolute number of illiterate adults today is larger than it was in 1948” (UNESCO, 2000:17), with ten times more illiterate adults than children (UNESCO, undated, cited in Archer & Fry, 2005, Appendix 2, p21). However, as children are considered more efficient catalysts of modernisation, adult learning is under-funded and undervalued (Lind, 2007) but an estimated 121 million children do not attend school (National Literacy Trust, 2007 – Appendix 3, p24) and despite an increase in enrolments, many children are dropping out before finishing primary schooling (Foulkes, 2004); mostly because they have to work (this is the case for 250 million children between the age of 5 and 15 - Edmonds, 2002). Issues of accessibility exacerbate poor attendance: 80% of those not attending live in crisis or post-crisis regions (Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, 2008), resources and transport to school are expensive and despite international legal requirements to provide free education, a large number of countries still levy fees (ibid); girls continue to have unequal access to schooling in 54 countries (National Literacy Trust, 2007 – Appendix 3, p25). The quality of education is poor: between 30 to 50% of children finishing their primary cycle remains unable to read or write confidently and lack basic numeracy skills (Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, 2008). One obvious response would be to improve primary education. However, we would need to wait between 50 and 60 years for literacy rates to climb up if the new generations were to replace the old dying generations of illiterates (Archer & Fry, 2005). The world‟s population is ageing (Appendix 3, p25) and countries cannot afford to exclude adults from better employment opportunities only accessible if they are literate. Adults are kept in poverty through deprivation of capability (Sen, 1999), and so are the countries where they live. Refusing adults access to education also signifies a violation on a mass scale of a basic human right, in the sense that international and national institutions are knowingly denying them the opportunity to achieve their human, political and economic potential (Galtung, 1969). This could 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre


explain why some developing countries are reluctant to educate their adults as “an educated population is perceived as much more difficult to govern” and will require “more transparency and accountability on the part of those in power” (Scanlon, 2004).

21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre


2. THE ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL NGOs IN DEVELOPING ADULT LITERACY With globalisation unevenly affecting people and places, inequalities persist so severely (Benjamin, 2004) that the United Nations and UNESCO have taken an interventionist role in setting educational targets to redress disparities created by the spread of capitalism. UNESCO strongly promotes adult education as part of Education for All (EFA – UNESCO, 2007a – Appendix 4, p26), although the last twenty years have seen its

funding debilitated disabling the shift of international political will and finances to a more inclusive agenda. Its goal to increase adult literacy to 50% by 2015 looks very unlikely to be achieved (Anderson, 2008 and Farrell, 2004). Conversely, the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs – Appendix 4, p26), defined as “a blueprint for building a better world in the 21st century” (Jjuuko, 2007), only address education at primary level for all and up to secondary level for women. Although all MDGs are EFA related (ibid), neither agency focuses on the same concepts of development. Whilst the UN sees education as a way to continue supporting capitalism (The World Bank Group, 2004), UNESCO is more concerned with the principle that “everyone has the right to education” (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights - UNESCO, 2007b), a more adult-friendly approach but one that ultimately does not reconcile with conditionalities set by the World Bank or the IMF, acting on behalf of the UN. This is surprising as, in theory, MDGs should be focussing on ensuring that the adult population of poorer countries become more productive to create more wealth. Moreover, there is a belief in developing countries that adult literacy acts as the „invisible glue‟ for achieving all MDGs (Appendix 5, p27). As a result of this approach, governments have relegated the provision of adult literacy to other agents of development, namely NGOs, which despite offering “many programmes operating throughout the developing world, cannot meet the need” (Farrell, 2004). This type of public provision through aid programmes clearly acts as a „safety net‟ to minimise the impacts of poverty (Abbott, 2006 and Pearson, 2004). 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre


Without underestimating their value, they can be limited in terms of funding and life-span. Indeed, adult literacy is not a budget priority of NGOs (UNESCO, 2005). Even OXFAM “a driving force of the Global Campaign for Education 1 , focuses on gender equality and the financing of primary education in response to MDGs” (Lind, 2007). NGOs can also be constrained in the achievement of their objectives. Because these programmes are developed to be disseminated globally, they are frequently too uniform and formal, and therefore inflexible (Aksornkool, 2003, Lind, 2007 and Scott-Goldman, 2001), failing to take account of national and local needs and contexts (Lind, 2007 and Kell, 1996). This approach has perpetrated a lack of engagement from potential learners as they cannot recognise the importance of education in attacking their own poverty (Jjuuko, 2007). Many have a fatalistic attitude to life and will not therefore willingly sacrifice their time and energy to learn when they have more pressing priorities (Freire, 1996). Programmes such as Reflect (Appendix 6, p28) however, have been successful in developing participatory community schemes (Archer & Cottigham, 1996, cited in Lind, 2007 and Reflect Action, 2008), and recognise that literacy cannot “singlehandedly lead to development, equity and justice” (Aksornkool, 2003). In order to empower individuals, the learning experience should be designed in partnership with local communities and applied in situations relevant to them (Freire, 1996). This implies nonetheless that communities are open to dialogue, that a consensus exists between their members about local development and that all are able to participate to this dialogue as equals; this is rarely the case (Appendix 7, p29). The aims of NGOs can clash with those of states or local populations (Scanlon, 2004 and Abbott, 2006). Since notions of public good are rarely agreed amongst agents of development (Abbott, 2006), they also are unlikely to coincide among NGOs. Their The Global Campaign for Education promotes education as a basic human right, and puts public pressure on governments and the international community to fulfil their promises to provide free, compulsory public basic education for all people; in particular for children, women and all disadvantaged, deprived sections of society (Global Campaign for Education, undated) 1

21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre


priorities lay with sustaining their operations on a large scale, rather than with the long-term development of a specific country (not unlike businesses). Besides, “what right do those who run the NGO projects have to decide what is best for people?� (Allen & Thomas, 2004:213). In the context of the increasing influence and revival of Christian NGOs in Central Africa, South-east Asia and Latin America, this could be seen as a real dilemma (Ghandour, 2008 – Appendix 8, p30). Finally, NGOs are often reliant on inexperienced young foreign volunteers (Jjuuko, 2007) to deliver literacy programmes. Untrained, unable to speak the local language, they are not armed to make learning relevant or develop material that could be used in the long-term by the community, for the community (Oxfam, 2005). In recognising this, some organisations such as VSO, are recruiting older volunteers but this approach remains not far removed from the colonialist and rather racist assumption that the illiterate is uncivilised and has nothing to contribute (Aksornkool, 2003). Yet, in the global village, education would fail were it not to promote an exchange of culture, as well as rooting people in their own (UNESCO, 2000). It is often through contact with this global community that people gain momentum in their struggle for survival.

21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre


3. THE ROLE OF STATES IN DEVELOPING ADULT LITERACY Education systems vary vastly across places: “some poised to reinvent education, while others are still struggling with the basics of access; some come from a centralised tradition, and others from a decentralised one” (UNESCO, 2008). Regardless of these differences, adult literacy remains a Universal Human Right (Article 26: “Everyone has the right to education. Elementary education shall be compulsory” – United Nations, 1948), thus states have a legal responsibility to ensure it is accessible to all (Sachs, 2005:253). Education is paramount to reducing the gap between the illiterate poor and those already literate, who continue to accumulate benefits (Archer & Fry, 2005). It is a merit good, not a privilege (Scanlon, 2004). Therefore should states reconsider their role in public provisioning of education as so many adult remain illiterate and continue to live in extreme poverty? State are the only organ able to orchestrate sustainable development through “public policies at international, national, regional and local levels”, which they can control, monitor and evaluate (Hillier, 2005:24, Abbott, 2006 and Archer & Fry, 2005), to set clear long-term objectives (Kell, 1996). This, however, requires prioritising. With respect to education, choices include age and gender, technical versus general education and quantity versus quality (Bhagwhati, 1970). The inability to both compute meaningful data on „the return on investment‟ for each type of education (ibid), and to estimate the losses incurred by such failure (Galtung, 1969) continue to have important consequences on deciding if educating adults is in the public interest. Moreover, there is little information on what has so far been spent on adult literacy, and to what extent past initiatives have worked (Jjuuko, 2008). Outdated World Bank findings state that adult literacy is a waste of scarce resources but according to a research on behalf of UNESCO and EFA “equipping an adult with sustainable reading skills only requires an investment of $150 to $300 per learner” (Archer & Fry, 2005:10) or a spending of 3% of a Ministry of Education‟s annual budget (ibid). Sadly this research appears not to be impacting on governments‟ education policies. However, who within governments should provide for adult 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre


literacy? Logically, Ministries of Education should take the lead but fail because of a lack of funding. Governments occasionally incorporate adult literacy across other areas and ministries, such as agriculture, gender/woman or health (Archer & Fry, 2005) but often this MDG-focussed approach is narrow-minded, as their objectives are merely to train people to deal with daily issues rather than empower them as citizens of the 21st century (Appendix 9, p31). Moreover, such skewed policies are often discontinued or risk becoming a shop window for political gain (Archer & Fry, 2005). New governments, which operate through elitist-run bureaucracies, start new initiatives, not for the public interest, but to pursue their own (Mackintosh, 1992a). This is often archetypal of endemic corruption and inefficiency of administrations in developing countries; they lack effectiveness in meeting the needs of the poor (ibid). Good governance at local, regional and national levels is a core condition for the development of democracies but has yet failed to happen (Zapisnik, 2000). As argued by Hirschman (1999:301), it can only be attained by „demand‟ (“civil society builds the skills to press government to be accountable for their actions”) and not by „supply‟ (states or bureaucracies cannot be expected to become accountable of their own accord). In South Africa, however, the Department of Education (the largest provider of adult education) is promoting decentralisation by training local governments‟ officials in project and financial management so they can exercise better governance (Kell, 1996). This is of great benefit to rural populations, which particularly suffer from lack of access to education. Better governance can also be achieved through bilateral regional cooperation schemes. These provide a platform for more effective lobbying of the UN to dedicate funds to adult literacy, and to develop both good practice amongst collaborating countries and the necessary political awareness for the efficient and less costly provision of adult literacy. It is also a way for governments to become less dependent upon external aid. This has been discussed at several conferences in Africa (Okech, 2007) and Cuba is already providing technical assistance to distribute its own literacy programme “Yo, Si Puedo” (Yes, I can) through radio and television in Latin 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre

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America; in Venezuela it has been fully embraced and “implemented in the context of a mass campaign” (Lind, 2007). In those less developed socialist countries, priority is given to equality over individualism, and this motivates such operations. This proves that political will, not only lack of funding, determines development policies. Although it could be argued that such motives are hardly underpinning development in China today, systematic investments in adult literacy 2 show a realisation that adults must possess the necessary tools to cope with a globalised market that relies increasingly on the written word (Hagnonou, 2007). It also demonstrates that education systems need to adapt to new trends in society (UNESCO, 2000), such as an ever increasing reliance on technology. Although the Chinese model does not allow for free-thinking, elsewhere, teaching adults to learn how to learn can provide them with the tools to make them realise “the widespread benefits from education which lie in the future, when the jobs that need educated people, will exist” (Musgrave, 1966, cited in Mackintosh, 1992b).

Literacy rate for youth aged 15-24 has increased from 78% in the 1990s to reach 98.9% today (EMpower, 2008). 2

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CONCLUSION One of today‟s “development discourse is about widening the parameters of communication and dialogue” to reduce the inequalities created as a result of the uneven globalisation process (Abbott, 2006:197). Since people are both the aim and the means of development, this dialogue will only happen if everyone, regardless of age, gender, income or nationality is empowered to participate economically and politically in the making of a more sustainable world. This will allow for a “replacement discourse which may then have the capacity to challenge power balances in society” (ibid). To work, it will need to happen on a wide scale and since so many adults are kept illiterate, the situation in the near future looks rather bleak. Inequalities are perpetuated, inhibiting poverty reduction and leaving states dependent upon charitable action. Instead of promoting/financing an international network of literacy initiatives, which unltimately result in dependency “the focus should be on supporting national level processes and debates in each country – encouraging an analyis both of people’s literacies and of the demands of society” (Aksornkool, 2003). Despite poor resources, developing states can play a greater role in steering, enabling and contesting development by prioritising adult literacy, taking possession of provisioning and setting clear learning objectives. This can only happen, however, if there is a clear shift of political will. The state then becomes paramount in setting the framework by which adult literacy is provided. This includes planning, controlling and monitoring the quality and supply of teachers and teaching resources, as well as supplying informal literacy provision that is responsive to the particular needs of adults in the context of their lives (Kell, 1996). NGOs can be part of the supply but cannot be allowed to promote their own agenda. Their expertise in managing schemes can be exploited, but should reflect a shift from “participation” to

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“partnershipâ€? (Farrell, 2004). However, such an approach can easily be mismanaged as illiterate adults have to be made aware of what they do not know and must be convinced that learning will change their lives. This latter point is one that I did not fully understand before I started this work. As a lecturer, I would not imagine that anyone, given the chance, would pass on the opportunity to learn how to read and write. This course, however, has made me appreciate the level of commitment and time that is necessary to increase oneâ€&#x;s opportunities in life. It has also enabled me to identify the complexities of development today, and as a result, has forced me to reflect on the best way to construct an argument. In the same way that I have asserted that adult literacy should empower, I now feel better equipped to think for myself and to contribute more effectively to empowering others.

21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre

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REFERENCES Abbott, D. (2006) Public action and development policy

in Study guide


230 The Open University: Milton Keynes Aksornkool, N. (2003) Literacy as Freedom Available at (Accessed 04 March 2008) Allen, T. and Thomas, A. (2004) Agencies of Development in Allen, T. & Thomas, A. (eds) Poverty and Development into the 21st Century pp189-216 Oxford University Press Inc.: New York Anderson, T. (2008) Millenium Goals are missing the Mark Available at (Accessed 03 March 2008) Archer, D. & Fry, L. (2005)

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Writing%20Wrongs%20Literacy%20Benchmarks %20Report.pdf (Accessed 20 February 2008) Bhagwati, J. (1970)

The Economics of Underdeveloped Countries

World University

Library: London Coleman, J.S. (1968) J.S. (ed)

Education and the making of Modern Nations

Education and Political Development

in Coleman,

pp51-74 Princeton University Press:

New Jersey

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Edmonds, E.V. (2002) Globalisation and the Economics of Child Labour Available at (Accessed 24 February 2008) EMpower (2008) Country profiles for Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa Brazil Country Profile Available at (Accessed 21 March 2008) Farrell, G. (2004)

ICT and Literacy: Who benefits? Experience from Zambia and

India Available at (Accessed 09 March 2008) Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (2008)

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Developping Countries Available


situation/index.html (Accessed 24 February 2008) Flores-Crespo, P. (2007) illustrations from Mexico

Education, employment and human development: in Journal of Education and Work Vol. 20, No.1


66 Foulkes, I. (2004) UN will miss education target Available at (Accessed 24 February 2008) Freire, P. (1996) Pedagogy of the Oppressed Penguin Books: London Galtung, J. (1969)

Violence, Peace, and Peace Research

in Journal of Peace

Research Vol. 6, No. 3 pp167-191 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre

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Ghandour, A-R. (2008) Humanitarianism, Islam and the West: contest or cooperation? Available at (Accessed 20 March 2008) Global Campaign for Education (undated) About us Available at (Accessed 20 March 2008) Hagnonou, B. (2007)

Adoption of a Strategy to Create and Strengthen a Literate

Environment in African Languages Available


2007/hagnonnou.htm (Accessed 20 February 2008) Hillier, Y. (2005)

Reflective Teaching in Further and Adult Education


London Hirschmann, D. (1999) Development Management versus Third World Bureaucracies: A brief History of conflicting Interests

in Development and Change



305 Jjuuko, R. (2007)

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enough money for adult education, what would be the priorities? Available


2007/jjuuko.htm (Accessed 20 February 2008) Kell, C. (1996)

Literacy practices in an informal settlement in the Cape Peninsula

in Prinsloo, M. and Mignonne, B (eds)

The Social Uses of Literacy: Theory and

Practice in Contemporary South Africa. Studies in Written Language and Literacy, Vol. 4 pp235-256 John Benjamins North America: Philadelphia 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre

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Lind, A. (2007)

What can and should Donors do to strengthen Adult Education

Systems to meet the basic Learning Needs of Youth and Adults? Available


2007/lind.htm (Accessed 20 February 2008) Mackintosh, M. (1992a)

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(eds) Development Policy and Public Action Oxford University Press: Oxford Mackintosh, M. (1992b) Hewitt, T. (eds)

Questioning the State

in Wutys, M., Mackintosh, M. and

Development Policy and Public Action

Oxford University Press:

Oxford National Literacy Trust (2007) Literacy standards in the developing world Available


situation/index.html (Accessed 24 February 2008) Nyerere, J. (1968) Adult Education and Development Available


2007/nyerere.htm (Accessed 20 February 2008) Okech, A. (2007)

Training of Adult Educators in East Africa: Some Outsdanding

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2007/okech.htm (Accessed 20 February 2008) Pearson, R. (2004) Thomas, A. (eds)

Rethinking Genders matters in Development Poverty and Development into the 21st Century

in Allen, T. & pp383-402

Oxford University Press Inc.: New York 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre

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Power, C. (2007) Achieving universal primary education and EIU Available at (Accessed 24 February 2008) Reflect Action (2008) What is Reflect? Available at (Accessed 20 March 2008) Sachs, J. (2005) The End of Poverty Penguin Allen Lane: London Scanlon, C. (2004) Educating for Peace: politics and human rights Available


9.88-2004&url_ctx_fmt=infofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&ctx_enc=info:ofi/enc:UTF-8&ctx_ver =Z39.88-2004&rfr_id=info:sid/ object_id=1000000000017445&svc.fulltext=yes (Accessed 27 February 2008) Scott-Goldman, J. (2001) Literacy Programmes and Sustainable Livelihoods Available at (Accessed 08 March 2008) Schweke, W. (2004) Education and Economic Development Available at (Accesses 23 February 2008) Sen, A. (2001) Development as Freedom Oxford University Press: Oxford The World Bank Group (2004) About the Goals Available at LNAV01HOME1 (Accessed 23 February 2008) 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre

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Thomas, A. (2004) (eds)

Meanings and views of development

Poverty and Development into the 21st Century

in Allen, T. & Thomas, A.


Oxford University

Press Inc., New York UNDP (undated) MDG Targets and Indicators Available at (Accessed 04 March 2008) UNESCO (2000)



World Education report

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The six EFA goals

_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html (Accessed 23 February 2008) United Nations (1948) Universal Declaration of Human Rights Available at (Accessed 06 March 2008) Weber, M. (1978) Economy and Society University of California Press: London Zapisnik, M. (2000) Political cultures in the process of globalisation Available at (Accessed 11 January 2008)

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APPENDIX 1 Figure 1 – Correlation between life expectancy and adult literacy rate

Figure 2 – Infant mortality rates, by mothers‟ educational level: 1992-1993

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(3 pages)

Figure 3 – Estimated adult illiteracy rate, 1970-2015 (% - UNESCO, 2000:36)

Figure 4 – Estimated adult illiteracy rate by major region of the world, 1950-2000 (% - UNESCO, 2000:17)




have greatly improved in the last 50





illiterate as more than halved everywhere Nonetheless,


the as

world. important

disparities persist, it is hard to say if real progress has been made. 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre

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Figure 5 – Estimated illiterate population (million) aged 15 and over 1990-2000 (adapted from UNESCO, 2000) 894 882 857

World T otal

865 858 839

Le ss de ve lope d re gi ons

1990 1997

161 177 193

Le ast de ve lope d countri e s

More de ve lope d re gi ons and countri e s i n transi ti on


19 14 10

Despite a fall in overall illiteracy, the decline in the number of illiterate adults has been very imbalanced and provides a completely different picture. Whilst the fall has reached 45% in “More Developed Regions and Countries in Transitions”, it has only been of 3% in “Less Developed Regions” (countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America). Figure 6 – Estimated illiterate population (million) aged 15 and over 1990-2000 for Less Developed Regions (adapted from UNESCO, 2000) China India Southern Asia Eastern Asia/Oceania Latin America/Caribbean

1990 1997 2005

Arab States Sub-Saharan Africa

A closer look at “Less Developed Regions” shows that the greatest number of adult illiterate are found in India, with an increase of 7% in 15 years; but the greatest rise has happened in the rest of Southern Asia (+23%), despite increasing economic 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre

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activity in both areas. Increases in the number of illiterate adults are also present in Arab States (+8%) and Sub-Saharan Africa (+1.5%), although it should be noted that results for Africa are the least worst. The greatest improvement in literacy has happened in China (+32%).

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(2 pages)

Figure 7 – Estimated number of out-of-school primary primary-school-age children in the less developed regions (UNESCO, 2000:47)

Figure 8 - Estimated number of out-of-school secondary-school-age children in the less developed regions (UNESCO, 2000:62)

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Figure 9 – Fewer girls in schools than boys (UNESCO, 2000)

Figure 10 – The changing age structure of the world‟s populations by region, 19802010 (UNESCO, 2000:55)

World demographic trends show that the






is are

getting large

regional differences in declining birth rates,




population will only increase by 9 million in the next 15 years.


response to such trends, western countries are now promoting „lifelong education‟




Since rich countries are realising the economic benefits of an educated ageing population, it would appear necessary to at least ensure that adults have basic literacy skills in developing countries. 21 March 2008 Personal identifier: Y8892288 Carole Favre

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APPENDIX 4 Table 1 - Education goals UNITED NATIONS


Millennium Development Goals

Education for All

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

1. Expand early childhood care and education

2. Achieve universal primary education


target 3: “Ensure that all boys and girls

primary education for all


3. Promote learning and life skills for











young people and adults

3. Promote gender equality and empower

4. Increase adult literacy by 50%


5. Achieve gender parity by 2005,

target 4: “Eliminate gender disparity in

gender equality by 2015


6. Improve the quality of education




preferably by 2005, and all levels by 2015”



4. Reduce child mortality 5. Improve maternal health 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases 7. Ensure environmental sustainability 8.

Develop a global partnership for

development (UNDP, undated)

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APPENDIX 5 In 2005, ActionAid compiled the largest survey to date on adult education on behalf of UNESCO and Education for All. It is based on responses from 67 good quality adult literacy programmes across 35 countries, reinforced by inputs from 142 experts in 47 countries. It was published as “Writing the Wrongs – International Benchmarks on Adult Literacy” (Archer & Fry, 2005). One of the questions asked was: Table 2 - Is adult literacy key to the achievement of all other development goals?

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APPENDIX 6 Reflect stands for Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques. It is an alternative approach to adult learning and social change which mixes the theories of Paulo Freire with the methodology of participatory rural appraisal. Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator, wrote about questions related to life, learning and liberation.

In the 1950s Freire focused on adult literacy, and identified that

"illiteracy is just one of the concrete expressions of an unjust social reality". He developed a new approach to literacy, which linked "learning to read the word with learning to read the world". He believed that no education is neutral: it can be used for domination/domestication or liberation. Fundamental to Freireâ€&#x;s educational philosophy is the notion of collective action and continuing struggle on the part of the oppressed to liberate themselves from all forms of domination. The oppressed are active subjects in their own struggle. Reflect





organisations in 60 countries. The




illustrates the key elements of current



Communities meet to analyse the cause and effect or inputs and outputs of their situation. This allows for flexibility and adaptation for use in diverse contexts (Reflect Action, 2008).

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APPENDIX 7 Convergence on women’s empowerment in the panchayats of India (Abbott, 2006:195-196)? In India, panchayats are elected bodies made up of local, independent institutions such as Village Councils and Village Development Boards. These are very powerful in rural areas and although they are elected bodies, they are not always inclusive of all social groups within the communities they represent because of the way power relations impact on the election process. NGOs and the state have long attempted to make the panchayats more inclusive and to involve groups such as men from „scheduledâ€&#x; castes or women. However, these efforts have received mixed results because the ruling castes are unwilling to give up their position of power and role in policy decision-making. As a result, the state legislated in favour of women to guarantee quotas of representation in panchayats. Nonetheless, NGOs and local officials continue to clash on many issues around administration and unequal participation in the panchayats. In 2000, the Rajasthan Council of the Hunger Project and the Jaipur Institute of Development Studies initiated a dialogue between NGOs and local governments to discuss these continual conflicts. This resulted in recognising commonalities across several issues linked to development, such as a united willingness to end hunger, to empower marginalized groups in society, particularly women. However, the way these common goals are going to be achieved remains a challenge.

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APPENDIX 8 In an article about Islam, imperialism and humanitarian work, Ghandour (2008), a political advisor for the UN, writes that thousands of Christian NGOs and consortia operate across the globe. He argues that the problem is that Christian NGOs are frequently politicised, and as shown below, often have evangelical aims. One of the largest Christian networks, Caritas, comprises 154 Catholic agencies. It is based in the Vatican, receives funding from the Catholic Church and applies Vatican policies in its work. During the 1980s, World Vision distributed millions of bibles to refugees in Khmer camps (usually Buddhist strongholds) in Cambodia; bible-reading is compulsory in the schools that the organisation funds and manages, and its staff has even reportedly promised American visas to converts. Almost three-quarters of the 500 NGOs operating on the Cambodia/Thailand border have sought converts. In hospitals in Nigeria, US fundamentalist Protestants have practised the forced baptism of Muslim children and the saying of Christian prayers at Muslim patientsâ€&#x; bedsides. In Afghanistan today, there is a concern that aid agencies are seeking to gradually convert the country to Christianity.

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APPENDIX 9 The report “Writing the Wrongs� (2005) also set out to investigate the current trend in provision of adult literacy in developing countries. It was found that there is strong support for governments to take full responsibility for this provision but that pressure on education budgets meant that other ministries have stepped in. Although this means that they have recognise the value of education for their area, the ease by which literacy appears to be embraced by different institutions is also a curse, as it diminishes its long-term impact and does not contribute to setting clear objectives in relation to a more sustainable future: should literacy have utilitarian and economic motives or aim to develop citizenship as a tool of political and social empowerment (Lind, 2207)? In reality, both approaches should be complementary. Table 3 - Level of support form various ministries (Archer & Fry, 2005:22)

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Essay: Roles that NGOs and the State can play in Adult Education in Developing Countries