Noah Kenny Sichula Functional Adult Literacy Learning Practices and the Attainment of Sustainable Rural Community Development

  • mwape mwape
Keywords: Literacy, adult learning, functional adult literacy, sustainable rural community development


This was a multiple qualitative case study of the functional adult literacy classes in Mkushi, Kabwe and Kapiri-Mposhi Districts of Central Zambia. The purpose of the study was to explore the attainment of sustainable rural community development through the contributions of functional adult literacy learning. The primary research question was how can sustainable rural development be attained through functional adult literacy learning? Data was collected through face-to-face interviews, focus group discussions and class observations and was analysed qualitatively using inductive thematic analysis.  In line with these questions, the study established that the functional adult literacy classes were organised and conducted in a formal school-based format. Functional adult literacy practices related to (1) how the classes were organised, (2) choice of learning content and (3) pedagogy which was applied to teach in classes. And the findings were that all these practices were decontextualized from the learning environment. Although some facilitators attempted to use local examples, this was inadequate evidence to merit support for situated practices. They were simply absent from all the classes in the research sites. In addition, there was a dominant feeling of dissatisfaction among the adult learners with regard to the relevance of what they were learning in class. Therefore, some of the adult learners challenged and doubted the perceived benefits of literacy such as literacy leads to “improved well-being” and “good health” of the people.  They contended that they have not witnessed these benefits despite attending literacy classes for some years. Finally, in line with the fourth research question, the study found a disjuncture between what was happening in adult literacy classes and the possibility of attaining sustainable rural community development in the selected research sites. Therefore, it was concluded that the attainment of sustainable rural community development through the contribution of functional adult literacy practices in the selected research sites remains a far–fetched reality. In view of this, it was recommended that the literacy learning providers both Government and NGOs need to reflect on their practices if functional literacy programmes have to attain the intended objective.