Past negative experiences from early school days

Get Complete Project Material File(s) Now! »



In Chapter One Section 1.5, the purpose of this research was discussed followed by relevant background details that gave the study purpose and direction. Chapter 2 explores and also examines in depth, the reasons why men, in particular, are not interested in literacy programmes offered by the Government. The following major factors are examined, namely the role of culture and tradition in preparing men for difficult challenges as compared to women. Could it be assumed that women unlike men were interested in literacy programmes because as potential mothers, they found such programmes empowering? Thus, it was very pertinent for this study to find out the reasons or factors that militate against men’s participation in literacy services.

The concept of basic literacy and its relevance to the study

There is no agreed way of defining the term ‘literacy.’ At the Jomtien Conference (1990) on ‘Education For All,’ it was observed that any attempt to define the term “literacy” was like a walk to the horizon whereby as one walks towards it, the horizon continues to recede. By the same token, as groups of people achieve the skills that were formerly defined as literacy skills, some altered circumstances through technological development often render such definition obsolete (Knowles, Holton and Swanson, 2005). Consequently, Harman (1987) defines literacy as the ability to communicate ideas and information in the right way at the right time, as well as the ability to use computers and other types of problem-solving techniques that may involve mathematical calculations.
The traditional approach that viewed literacy as permanent was based on the view of literacy as a neutral set of skills, which a person either possessed or did not possess; meaning that the distinction between the literate and the illiterate people could be drawn easily. Proponents of this view believed that learning literacy brought with it new ways of thinking, new understanding and new capabilities.
This view has been widely and increasingly challenged by some writers (Street, 1984; Papen, 2005). Their view is that there are multiple forms of literacy. People have different forms of literacy that they use in different domains of life. For example, to learn to read the Qur’an in Arabic does not help one to be able to read a local newspaper. Street (1984), an authority in this domain, points out that there are three main sets of literacy. Firstly, there is what he calls commercial literacy, which is the literacy of the shop and the market. Then there is religious literacy such as reading the Qur`an. Finally, there is schooled literacy which is the literacy that is taught in the classroom.
Other studies have also developed other forms of literacy. Baynham (1995), identifies what he calls occupational literacy, a phrase that refers to the different forms of literacy found in different occupations such as tailoring, carpentering, and other work activities. The other form of literacy he refers to is bureaucratic literacy which has to do with offices and office related documentation. A person can become an expert in one or two of these forms of literacy and yet still be illiterate in the other forms. The literacy practices of a taxi driver and of a hairdresser are very different, and their learning approaches also differ.
The formal literacy and especially the numeracy practices that are being taught in schools and in adult literacy classes are not the same as the informal literacy and numeracy practices, which are commonly used in everyday life.
Prisloo and Breir (1996), say formal literacy has rules of spelling and grammar, which informal literacy, sometimes called local vernacular or indigenous literacy, does not possess.
Each form of literacy is bound up within a context of power and practice. The schooled literacy is all powerful and dominant whilst the others are subsidiary (Crother, Hamilton and Tett, 2001). Each form of literacy has its own functions. The issue that is of interest here is that non-literate persons do not engage in literacy practices. When they do, they may do so through interpreting, or they may adopt other strategies. The most important thing to note here is that they all have experience of literacy in one form or the other, especially where literacy is used for exclusion.
Studies by Rogers and Uddin (2005:62), have shown how many non-literate persons have acquired, through informal learning, some understanding of literacy and its power and some informal skills. This is even true of numeracy, for everybody engages in some form of counting and calculating in their everyday life, using their own, often very local practices in the process. It is, therefore, not possible to distinguish starkly between literate and illiterate persons. Some people now talk about the plurality of literacy (UNESCO, 2007). This is the position that the researcher holds.

Visual literacy

Visual literacy is one area where the concept of multiple form of literacy manifests itself in the sphere of reading, interpreting pictures or images. In his exciting study, Fulglesang (1973), argues that the meta-linguistic skills, on which this approach is based, cannot be presumed. He challenges the assumption that pictures are some kind of ‘inter-cultural language’. Contrary to Freire who accepts without question that people can always interpret pictures accurately, he says that:
“…it is probably right to say that pictorial illiteracy is almost as widespread as illiteracy itself. People have to learn to read pictures” (Fuglesang, 1973:62).
This brings about a sudden and unanticipated question that learning to “read a picture” might be just as difficult as learning to read a text. Nor does it follow that someone who can read a text, for example, the literate coordinator, is any more capable of reading the picture than the non-literate peasants.
This idea is also reflected by Brown (1974:26), who, when writing about the use of picture codes, notes:
“…the coordinator begins the discussion with the question ‘what do you see in the picture? Because this naming of objects is important because people not accustomed to graphic representations may not easily identify what is meant to be shown’.
The points raised above by Fuglesang and Brown clearly demonstrate that visual literacy is one of the many forms of literacy in the world. In a similar vein Ngugi waMirii also confirms the notion of multiple forms of literacy when he posits three different types of literacy, namely alphabetic literacy, communication literacy, which is part of people’s communicative skill in the production of words or texts, that is, in the use of language codes in struggles against nature and in society (struggle for life). Finally, waMirii talks of consciousness literacy which is part of an educational process to mould a certain consciousness about the why of people’s struggles, especially against the silencing domination of outside forces (Ngugi waMirii, 1980: 18).



It is quite clear that there is no universally recognized definition of ‘literacy.’ What is certain and what many people seem to forget is that literature was invented by illiterates (Enzensberger,1992:108), and that the so called illiterates we often talk about are all orators; they live, operate, communicate, create in an ORAL context and within and from an ORAL CULTURE. Oral culture is the equivalence of literate culture in every respect, in terms of complexity, cognitive processes, depth and wealth of experience (Finnegan 1977).
Orality goes back to the origins of language. It relies on the spoken word. In speaking the meaning is in the context while in writing the meaning is in the text (Olson and Torrance, 1991). It is an ‘art’ in the meta-technological sphere. Because it operates in one’s own language, it is accessible to all. People can sing, dance and act it. It is close to life, participatory and situational. In short, it is life. In orality, data and interpretation are merged. Oral literacy operates in a dialogical face to face situation (interlocutors);
The wisdom in Oracy/Orality/Oral literacy is reflected through the poetry, proverbs and riddles as exemplified by those ‘walking libraries’ or ‘encyclopedias’- the ‘GRIOTS’. From what has been stated so far, it is clear that oral literacy is complete in its own right and that above all, it is human centered. This is why, perhaps, a lot of people manage to live without ‘literacisation’ or alphabetic literacy as Enzensberger (1992:96), notes:
every third inhabitant of our planet manages to survive without having mastered the art of reading and writing”.

Zimbabwe’s definition of literacy

Literacy in the Zimbabwean context refers to the ability to read, write and enumerate (MEC 2010:3). However, this is a narrow view of literacy as observed earlier on. Jarves and Griffin (2003), point out that literacy as a skill can best be defined in its functional form through gaining possession of skills perceived as necessary by particular persons and groups in order to fulfill their own self determined objectives as a family, job seekers or members of social, religious sect or of any other associations of their choice.
The United Nations Development Programme (2004), recognizes that functional literacy is an entry point to empowerment; hence it brings together components of literacy skills development and income generation activities. For the Zimbabwean community, literacy for people living in rural areas would ensure that they become self-reliant through engaging in income generating projects. In the following section, the writer discusses the general typologies used in the classification of factors that militate against adults’ participation in literacy programmes.

1.1. Introduction
1.2. The statement of the problem
1.3. The main reserach problem
1.4. Aim and objectives of the research
1.5. The purpose of the research
1.6. Background of the problem
1.7. Motivation for the research
1.8. The scope of the research
1.9. The reserach methodology and design of the study
1.10. Limitations of the research
1.11. Defintion of terms
1.12. Organisation of the research report
1.13. Summary
2.1. Introduction.
2.2. The concept of basic literacy and its relevance to the study.
2.3. The concept of functional literacy
2.4. Typologies of barriers that militate aganist adult male learners’ participation in literacy programmes
2.5. Case studies on factors that deter men from participating in literacy programmes in a few selected countries
2.6. Specific programme related barriers that miltate against men’s participation in literacy programmes
2.7. Other related factors that militate aganist men from participating in literacy programmes
2.8. Literacy campaigns: Experiences of other countries
2.9. Rationale for adult participation in literacy programmes
2.10. Conclusion
3.1. Introduction
3.2. The research methodology
3.3. The research design
3.4. Data collection methods
3.5. Validity and reliability
3.6. Ethical considerations
3.7. Anticipated limitations of the research methodology
3.8. Summary
4.1. Introduction
4.2. Data collection of individual and focus group interviews
4.3. Analysis of interview data
4.4. Presentation and discussion of data
4.5. Past negative experiences from early school days
4.6. Poverty and other related factors
4.7. Stigma related issues
4.8. Focus group’s data analysis
4.9. Conclusion
5.1. Introduction
5.2. Summary of findings from the empirical investigation .
5.3. Comment
5.4. Recommendations
5.5. Conclusion

Related Posts