University of Sussex
Berdie, Susan Delali Doe.pdf (2.68 MB)

Facilitation of adult literacy: a case within the Ghana National Functional Literacy Programme

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posted on 2023-06-09, 06:29 authored by Susan Delali Doe Berdie
In 2013 the Ghana National Functional Literacy Programme (GNFLP) changed its approach to adult literacy. Instead of local language literacy learning facilitated by volunteers it now deploys Programme Assistants who previously administered the system as Adult Literacy Officers (ALOs) to facilitate literacy learning in English. This study explores what is happening in the GNFLP classrooms especially in view of the recent policy changes and other contextual challenges. The aim is to contribute to knowledge on the facilitation of adult literacy specifically in Ghana and how it is impacted by programme management issues and other contextual factors. A qualitative case study design was employed to explore the key question of how adult literacy facilitation in English is being accomplished in the Ghana NFLP and four sub-questions as follows: 1. How is literacy facilitation understood by the ALOs? 2. How does the understanding of literacy facilitation held by ALOs translate into the facilitation of the new policy of NFLP in English? 3. What difficulties do ALOs face in enacting facilitation? 4. What are the perspectives of the ALOs on their new role in the NFLP? Data collection comprised observation of six adult literacy classes, selected purposefully from a district in a southern region of Ghana. These were followed by semi-structured interviews with the six ALOs whose classes were observed. After initial analysis of the data, four telephone follow-up interviews were conducted to fill up gaps in data. In addition, documents including research reports on literacy, facilitation and second language teaching, as well as instructional materials were analyzed. All data sets were analyzed using thematic analysis framework because it is a flexible and useful research tool that gave me a means of providing a rich and detailed account of the data on facilitation. Secondly, it is not ‘wed to any pre-existing theoretical frameworks’ so it made it easy for me to interrogate the data in this study adopting a constructionist epistemological position (Braun and Clarke, 2006: 9). The study was guided by Knowles’ notion of andragogy which provides guidelines on how adults learn and Rogers’ Facilitation Theory. The study revealed that although ALOs are expected to use andragogic methods in facilitating English literacy learning to adults, especially those with limited and no literacy, programme related factors make this difficult. Inadequate class inputs, ALO-related issues such as facilitator’s own English linguistic competency and some level of difficulty with communicating with the learners whilst facilitating their English literacy limit learner participation and encourage a transmission approach. Although comprehension was facilitated through translation for participants, their English language production was very limited. However, participants benefitted more in public speaking even in their own language and a sense of solidarity from participation. The study concludes that second language literacy facilitation for adult learners requires linguistic as well as andragogic competence. Adequate resourcing and management of contextual issues are also factors that impact on facilitation of English literacy learning by adults. Better standards for deploying, building the capacities of the ALOs and managing the programme are therefore recommended if proficiency in literacy levels is to be attained by participants. The study sheds light on what pertains in an adult functional English literacy class in the GNFLP and has offered implications for policy and practice.


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