The Literacy by Radio project was conceived because of the need for Nigeria to move to a greater pace in her effort to make the illiterate people literate.
The whole world events are moving faster than ever before. In this century, the communicate systems have improved greatly. It is now possible to write a note to any part of the world and get a reply in seconds. In this age, a lot of information is available for personal, community and national development. up to 60 million Nigerians are in no position to take advantage of them, because they do not have literacy skills. Two thirds of Nigerians illiterates are girls and women. In spite of the present governments intervention in basic education, a good number of school age children still drop out of without acquiring sustainable literacy skills.
These, with swell up the already large number of illiterates in Nigeria. With this, Nigeria is not likely to rid herself of the problems of illiteracy in the foreseeable future if more drastic steps are not taken. Nigeria is still one of the countries of the world with the greatest number of illiterates and so is a participant in the UNESCO Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE).
When a person is literate, his or her capacity to participate in socio-economic development is enhanced; the enforcement of human rights is also encouraged because the literate people can get to know and demand them. Literacy helps to increase the peoples social standing and reduce poverty.
A literate mother can enhance the quality of life of her family and even help improve the learning capacity of the children at school. Illiterate people are more prone to disease because of their high level of ignorance. This means also that skills are advantage for combating HIV/AIDS.
These are the concerns of the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education for seeking a means of making many more people literate within a short time. After consultation with stakeholders, the radio was identifies as an appropriate means of getting people literate within 3 months. The literacy radio learner is encourage to continue to practise the newly acquired literacy skills for at least one year to ensure that it has become permanent.
In the LIFE framework, the literacy by radio responds to the learning needs of people (adults, out of school children, and youth). It aims at increasing access of people in marginalized settings to literacy programmes. It is planned to enable learners learn at their convenience.
The main objective of this programme is to start learning the process of reading and writing with illiteracy or semi illiterate adult people of different ages throughout our great country Nigeria. For many years, efforts have been on to ensure that all Nigerians are literate. For many reasons nearly half of Nigerians are still literate.
The Literacy by Radio facilitator is to help adult learners start to learn and write. The job of teaching is an educative task. It is also a social one because it allows the adult to improve culturally and socially. He/she will help to improve the human quality of the adult learners by facilitating the face-to-face meetings effectively.
To do this successfully, the facilitator must be able to understand, stimulate and guide the adult learners. He/she will be helping to fight ignorance and develop Nigeria whenever the facilitation work is carried out with every amount of dedication and seriousness to duty.
For greater understanding of the Literacy by Radio Project and to promote the work of facilitators, key terms and concepts connected to the project will be defined and explained as follows:
- Literacy by Radio: This is the teaching of reading, writing and calculation to adult learners in the mother tongue through the radio.
- Method: This deals with the procedure of delivering the lessons and it starts from a main topic based on learners needs and motivations and related to the main picture on top of the primer page where the lesson is presented.
- Logos: These are pictures on each of the primer representing each state of Nigeria and are used to demarcate the pages of the literacy by radio primer.
- Symbols: These are pictures on each page of the primer representing each state of Nigeria and are used to demarcate the pages of the literacy by radio primer.
- Face-to-face-meeting: This refers to the weekly contact of the adult learners with the facilitator at an agreed venue and time.
Literacy by Radio is the teaching of reading, writing and calculation to adult learners in the mother tongue through the radio. It can be done in any language. You might want to ask why we choose to do literacy by radio. It is because there are many advantages.
The objectives of using the radio for non-formal education are to:
- eradication of illiterates;
- mobilise and sensitise communities to appreciate the value of modern education;
- encourage parents and guardians to contribute meaningfully towards the education of their children;
- increase the level of support and enthusiasm of these marginalized group with a view to improving learners enrolment, retention, completion and transition rates;
- motivate both men and women to enrol in adult literacy programmes; and
- improve the quality of teaching and learning, particularly where performance is low and teachers are poorly trained.
Advantages of Literacy by Radio
Through the radio, one radio teacher can reach many adult learners at once. The adult learners do not have to go anywhere. They can learn even in their bedrooms using their own radio. Also we do not need many teachers and other professionals for the programme. No schools are required for adult learners learning by radio. It keeps families together because the whole family, young and old can come together to learn and support each other in the learning process.
With all these reasons, people can gain a lot of self confidence and enjoy doing their work themselves.
Method of Literacy by Radio
Now we need to talk about the particular method in this Literacy by Radio. The method to be adapted here is a mixed method. Remember that a method is a way of doing something. This method is mixed because ideas and elements from different methods are brought together.
In this method, we start from a main topic based on adult learners needs and motivations. The topic should be closely related to the main picture on top of the page of the primer. From this we will make a sentence. In this sentence we have the key word including the vowel or letter to be taught in each lesson. The vowel or letter will be associated to the corresponding number it has in the alphabet.
There is also a guide table at the end of the primer where the letter appears and its number on the alphabet is shown. This will help the learners to establish the relationships easily.
Some of the themes of the radio programme include:
- basic literacy;
- the importance of education particularly adult education;
- learners enrolment, retention, completion and transition rates;
- education for girls;
- family life education;
- civic education;
- community development;
- environmental education;
- the formation of cooperative societies and radio listening groups;
- the empowerment of women through income-generating activities;
- health-related issues such as HIV/AIDS, STDs, etc.; and
- conflict and conflict resolution.