COMMUNITY EDUCATION NEEDS OF COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS LEADERS IN ANAMBRA STATE, NIGERIA
The central focus of this study was to ascertain the community education needs of community based organizations leaders inAnambra State of Nigeria. To guide this study, five research questions were posed and three null hypotheses were formulatedand tested at 0.05 level of significance. The study adopted a
descriptive survey design. The population for the study comprised1,701 executive members of the 189 registered community based organizations in the 21 local government areas that make up the three senatorial zones of Anambra State. The sample consisted of 1071 executive members of community based organizations elected through stratified random sampling. The internal consistency reliability coefficient obtained for each of the clusters I-V were 0.89, 0.88, 0.87, 0.86 and 0.92 respectively while the overall reliability coefficient was 0.88.
Questionnaire was the instrument used for data collection. Mean was used to analyze the research questions while t-test was used to test the null hypotheses. Among the major findings of the study were that the respondents agreed that they need basic, social, political, economic, and cultural education to improve or further lead as required, there was no significant difference in the mean ratings of the literate and non-literate; respondents on the basic education needs there was significant difference in the mean ratings of married and single respondents on social education needs; and
there was no significant difference in the mean ratings of the urban based and rural based respondents on political education needs.
It was recommended that the Agency for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education in Anambra State should mount campaign in the rural communities on the need for community education programmes, that community education centres should be established in the rural areas and qualified adult educators
employed to facilitate the programmes, policy makers and other administrators in mass literacy, adult and non-formal educationshould reflect the needs of the community in policy formulation.
Background to the Study
Within the community framework, there is need for people to be educated. It is vital because without it, people may not function effectively. Community education is one form of education that will bring about positive change among the people in the community. Ezumah (2004) sees community education as a process aimed at raising consciousness, spreading understanding, and providing the necessary skills, including the human and material resources
for the social, economic, political and cultural development. Findsen (2006) defined community education as an organized learning activity that groups or individuals undertake for the personal, community, cultural or economic development. It touches all other areas of learning but its primary focus is the
adult as learner and the community as the context. Akande (2007) sees community education as the type of education needed to engender self-confidence, self-respect, and personal independence as well as to safeguard human rights and achieve social equality.
Contextually, community education is the education that promotes the integrated involvement of community members in there to bring about desirable social change. It is education for peoples empowerment to take control over their own lives. In other words, it is an educational process whereby people, collectively learn to help themselves and improve their lives. It is the need for improving the quality of life in the community that brought about the activities of community education. According to Anyanwu (2002), community education is not a new phenomenon of human living. For example, in Nigeria traditional communities, people had been practising indigenous community education before the advent of the early missionaries and the colonial administration. The traditional apprenticeship programmes were plausible forms of community education.
Such programmes were run in the areas of health, agriculture, arts and crafts and constituted a recognized way of inducing enlightenment. In the area of health, community education tends to emphasize better sanitation and water supply, proper hygiene and housing, and improved infant and maternal welfare. In the field of agriculture, community education was in the area of sensitizing people on the methods of farming to improve their productivity, better care of livestocks. Anyanwu further stated that with the introduction and general acceptance of the Western system of education and culture, there was a gradual decline in enthusiasm for erstwhile indigenous community education with corollary problems of illiteracy, unemployment, underdevelopment, poverty,
armed robbery, kidnapping, and youth restiveness in Nigeria. This indicates the inadequacy of formal school system of Western Education alone to meet the socio-economic and cultural needs ofthe Nigerian society.
Formal education having been unable to address most community concerns alone, policy makers came up with the idea of non-formal education. on-formal education according to Ngwu (2003:41) can be defined as: any planned and consciously organized general education and /or training activity outside the formalschool in a particular society for illiterates, schoolleavers, dropouts or other adults, as individuals or in groups, for the purpose of raising their consciousness of their social situation and their standard of living, improving their individual or collective efficiency in their jobs or preparing them for self-employment, wage employment or further training within the existing education/training system.Non-formal education is focusing on teaching people to improve their basic level of subsistence, as well as there standards of nutrition and general health, participate in determining the nature and content of programmes of community education, and acquire knowledge and skills which can immediately be put into practice to solve community problems. In these ways, non-formal education becomes an important tool for community education to provide social change for better living in the community.
Non-formal education provides the viable educational alternatives that will enable different categories of completers to further their education.In 2004, the Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education came up with strong emphasis on all forms of functional education such as community education that was enshrined in the National Policy on Education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004). In the document, it was clearly stated that efforts shall be made to relate
education to overall community needs. To realize this objective locally and globally, the fifth World Conference on Community Education was convened in 1987 in Nairobi, Kenya where the proponents and practitioners of community education from 40 countries in all continents affirmed their commitment to the goal of community education: to raise the consciousness and enhance the initiative of people in solving their problems in the spirit of self reliance and self determination (Akande, 2007).
Ezumah (2004) stated that the non-formal nature of community education operational strategies determines itsobjectives. He went on to state that the primary objective of nonformal community education is to return education to the people in the community. Community Based Organization (CBO) leaders,
therefore, need this type of education (community education). This is the type of education that will provide them with certain types of knowledge, skills, understanding, courage, perceptivity, and foresight in community leadership. The National Libraries of Medicine (2007) defined community based organizations as public or private non-profit organizations that are representatives of a community or a significant segment of a community, and are
engaged in meeting human, educational, environmental, or public safety community need. Thus, community based organizations refer to all the organizations based in the community and set by the community for the purposes of enhancing the well-being of the community members.
Each community based organization has its own leaders and the essence of the leadership is to direct activities and have enormous responsibility to direct what they are doing within CBOs. Abiona (2009) sees community leaders as volunteers and agents of change that motivate and mobilize their people to improve their communities. They are members of their community who are familiar with the culture, social organization, structure, and values of their community. In other words, community leaders are the leaders of different community based organizations set-upby the community who are often formed to improve the standard of living in their community. Because community leaders occupy this position, they need to be educated within the context of the
community. In realization of this, successive Nigerian governments have intensified efforts in initiating national development programmes to promote community education. Such programmes include: Mass Mobilization, Social Justice, and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), Family Support Programme (FSP), Environmental Sanitation, population education, mass literacy campaign, political education, among others.
These programmes were initiated to promote the life and meet learning needs of the people, community leaders inclusive. This is in line with the views of Alam (2004) who noted that one of the goals of Dakar Education for All (EFA) framework of action was ensuring equitable access to education to meet the learning needs of all. Despite the efforts of the government in initiating community education programmes in the country, the results of the interview
and observations made by the researcher show that community based organizations leaders in Anambra state have little or no idea of community education programmes to improve their lots. It is not clear if these community education programmes have been contributory in improving their expected role. This is because, they have not been able to fill their position properly and hence, do not perform as desired in their area of jurisdictions. This is evidenced from their poor leadership and accountability, disputes, ignorance of political rights, poor attitude to environmental
sanitation, among others.
For example, in Anambra State, community leaders shy away from political activities because of the activities of rigging, thuggery, and assassination that militate against their political rights and duties. This agrees with the views of Igbafe and Offiong (2007) that political assassination and other vices have become evils that work the streets of Nigeria not only unmolested, but aided and abated. This, they noted, is due to ineffectiveness and inefficiency of national security outfits, particularly the police that have failed to live up to its duties by apprehending the culprits and their collaborators. Again, environmental sanitation exercise observed every last Saturday of the month now records very few community members’ participation due to lack of mobilization from the leaders. This is in line with Ejikeme (2012) who opined that until recently when Anambra State Waste Management Agency (ASWAMA), which derived from the defunct Anambra State Environmental Protection Agency (ANSEPA) was formed, the issue of waste management in
Anambra State was a big challenge.
The peoples’ attitude to environmental sanitation was very poor. Indiscriminate dumping of refuse was rule rather than exception. The state capital, Awka,
was the most vulnerable in this undisciplined life style. Bins overflowed with dirt as flood channels were willfully blocked by privileged few in the society for purpose of reclaiming the land. For example, Iyiagu flood channel was blocked and built upon regardless of the danger it posed to life and properties. In the same area, the leaders rather struggle for monthly allowance from the state government for community development activities including community education programmes and shy away from their expected roles of helping the community members to develop capacity to deal with their own problems through collective actions, enhanced self-chosen changes and development by community members. This includes developing people’s capacity to learn the skills of democracy that will help move the community to the most desirable levels of conditions.
This agrees with the views of Anyanwu (2002) who said that: Community leaders are more interested in power sharing and the creation of positions than in the solution of community problems. Hence, with the lack of intelligent and imaginative of local leadership, the administration of a disorganized community can be frustrated by low morale, apathy, and outright neglect. Morestill, some of the leaders di vert community funds into their pocket due to their self aggrandizement. This is in line with Abiona (2009) who noted that the limited funds contributed by members of the communities may be embezzled by community leaders and other. This brings mistrust and kills the interest of the community members who are willing to participate in community development. The author further noted that the political class makes the matter worse by displaying influence after embezzling public funds.
The non-performance of these community leaders of their expected roles could be attributed to some gaps that need to be filled through community education programmes. The gap will be considered as the educational needs of these community based organizations leaders. Knowles (1970) described educational need as something that a person has to learn for his own good, for the good of an organization, or for the good of the society. It can be
regarded as the gap that exists between a person’s present level of competencies and a higher level which is required for effective performance as defined by the individuals, his organization or his society. As a problem-centered activity, community education becomes a tool that will build the capacity of community leaders to satisfy the imbalance or lack of adjustment between the present condition in the life of the community and a new set of condition
that will be more desirable. In identifying those gaps, they could be basic education needs, social education needs, political education needs, economic
education needs, and cultural education needs.
These are important because, they will equip the individuals, including the community leaders with the desired knowledge and skills that will make them function effectively in their communities. Conceptually, basic education refers to all those programmes with fundamental education, as well as those programmes with alternative curricular, including areas such as basic health, nutrition, familyplanning, literacy, agriculture, and other vocational skills (Lynette & Babara, 2010). The community leaders need basic education because it is very important for human living. Acquisition of basic education will help community leaders have a focus on other areas of needs in the community. It is only when they achieve their basic education needs that other sets of needs come up in the hierarchy of needs. In addition to basic education, another education need that could be important to community leaders is social education.
Social education can be seen as education for sociality, education through social life, education as learning in society, and education for social relationships (Smith, 2002). Thus, it is the education that equips community leaders with knowledge and skills of establishing human relationship, love, peace and harmony, communication, improved family life, among others. Knowledge of social education will make community leaders gain access to full emotional, social, and intellectual development in relations to self, social institutions, and social issues. Moreso, another education need that could be very important
to community leaders to function effectively in their communities is political education. Political education is an activity aimed at achieving the largest numbers of citizens, who understand political process, independently and critically shape their own opinions and are prepared for public activity (European Youth for Media Network Association, 2012). Political education will help to raise the civic consciousness and increasing participation of community
leaders in the community affairs and the mainstream political process.
Acquisition of political education will make them exercise their franchise, know state ideology, strengthen their leadership structure, and have sound criticisms on state issues. In the same vein, such other need could be economic education. Economic education is the education provided to assist a rational man in organizing his different thoughts whenever he is faced with day-today economic issues and problems (Ibukunolu, 2010). Thus, economic education is the education that prepares one to become productive member of the workforce, prudent saver, investor, and wise decision maker on his available resources. There is, therefore, the need for community based organizations leaders to acquire economic education to enable them identify their available resources in the community and make wise decision on the usage and reservation for the rainy days. It will equally equip them with knowledge and skills of dealing with their day-to-day economic issues and problems as they arise in their own areas of authority.
Finally, one other education need that could be vital for the performance of community based organization leaders in their communities is cultural education. Cultural education refers to education that enables the transmission of peoples’ cultural heritage from one generation to another. It equips individuals with
a wide variety of high quality cultural experiences that make them to function effectively in their communities. There is the need for community leaders to have in their finger tips, the values, norms, and traditions of their communities through cultural education. This will enable them to transmit the knowledge to new generation and for promotion of cultural development. Community has been defined as a group of people living in a geographical area and are bound with common interest. This implies that in every community, the perception of the people is very important since there are various categories of people in thecommunity, for example, married and single, educated and non-educated.
It is very vital that the opinions of these categories of people should be collected to determine how related or diverted these opinions are in this study. Also community development is all about improving the well being of people in both rural and urban communities. This therefore, implies that, the importance of
rural and urban aspects of the communities necessitates that the opinions from both rural a urban leaders are necessary in this study. Based on the foregoing, that the community based organization leaders do not function effectively as required, it is the intention of the researcher to identify the needs of the community based organizations leaders to enable them function effectively in their communities.
COMMUNITY EDUCATION NEEDS OF COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS LEADERS IN ANAMBRA STATE, NIGERIA
Statement of the Problem
The non-performance of the community based organizations leaders has led to slow pace at which different communities in Anambra State are developing. The decline in their roles is more pervasive in rural communities than their urban counterparts. This can be evidenced by the high rate of illiteracy, poor
leadership, embezzlement of public funds, disputes, and ignorance of community education programmes such as health, economic, political and environmental programmes. The truth remains that inspite of the numerous community education programmes that have been introduced by the government, the rural dwellers, including community leaders have not availed themselves of these educational opportunities to improve their lots. Could it be that the community education programmes did not receive adequate publicity or could it be that there were some educational deficiencies that deprived them of access to information about community education programmes?
Moreover, the irony is that, it is not even certain that community leaders know their basic education needs, social education needs, political education needs, economic education needs, and cultural education needs. In fact, it is not clear if at all any community education programmes targeted at the rural
populace have been contributory in improving the roles of community leaders in the area despite the rapid increase in their expected roles. Therefore, since the community based organizations leaders do not perform their roles as expected in their areas of jurisdiction, there is need to identify their community education needs to enable them develop their leadership potentials and become more effective in their areas of authority. It is, therefore, the problem of
this study to identify the community education needs of the community based organizations leaders.