Examining the Role of Non-Formal Education as a Conduit to Poverty Reduction and Rural Development: The Case of a Rural Community in a Municipality in Ghana

Emmanuel Intsiful, Albert Martins


Non-formal education (NFE) programmes involve literacy and numerical programmes that aim at training people to read and write. Gaining such basic literacy skills enables a person to use the reading, writing and calculation to develop the self and the community as a whole. In the Ghanaian context, the Ministry of Education in the year 2000 established the National Functional Literacy Programme with the chief aim of making accessible literacy and life skills to the rural poor and the illiterate. The aim of this paper was to examine the extent to which non-formal education contributes to literacy improvement, poverty reduction and rural development in a rural community within a municipality in Ghana. The researchers employed Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach to economic and human development and Paulo Freire’s concept of education for conscientization.

The findings of the study show that the non-formal education programme plays a very critical role in the reduction of illiteracy coupled with improving the living standard of the rural adult learners, once the programme is well organized and implemented. Thus, the activities of NFE have the potential to make the illiterate poor become functionally literate which is a necessary condition for poverty reduction. Providing skill training is one of the major ways of improving the livelihood of poor people. Based on the impact of NFE activities on those who had graduated from the programme has the potential of reducing illiteracy and improving the standard of living of the people. The impact has been felt in areas like literacy and numeracy, economic, social and political empowerment of learners in the community studied. However, the programme needs to be strengthened to address the issue of funding which has become a major challenge for the NFE. Facilitators and supervisors need enough motivation to commit them fully to the task and learners need support to start their own business to bring about meaningful poverty reduction.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jet.v6i2.13586


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