Background of the Study
Education is a powerful instrument all over the world. It is used for empowerment and holistic development of the citizens and communities in all over the world. Education provides equal access to educational opportunities for all citizens of the country at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels both inside and outside the formal school system (NPE, 2004). Education generally is classified into Formal, Informal and Non-formal education.
Formal education is a way through which people acquire knowledge and skills to improve their well being through opportunities for good jobs and further educational development. It can be acquired through a systematic curriculum for pre primary, primary, secondary and tertiary education systems. Ngwu (2003) described formal education as the institutionalized, chronologically graded and hierarchically structured education system spanning lower primary school and the upper reaches of the university. Formal education is classroom-based, provided by trained teachers. It occurs in a structured environment whose explicit purpose is the act or process of educating or being educated (enhancinged.wgbh.org/…/ formal.html).
On the other hand, informal education involves unplanned, accidents, impromptu knowledge and skills gained outside the classroom, in after-school programmes, at home, churches, village squares, markets among others. Informal education could be defined as a lifelong process through which every person acquires and accumulates knowledge, skills, attitudes and insights from daily experiences and exposure to the environment (Ngwu, 2003). While, Non-Formal Education (NFE) describes all categories of educational activities that make people acquire knowledge and skills outside the formal school system. Imhabekhai (2009), defined Non-Formal education as any form of organized educational activity for youths, children and adults who cannot be integrated into the formal school system as a result of some socially, economically and politically imposed conditions.
Extension education is part of non-formal education. It realizes that rural people are intelligent, industrious, and also capable of acquiring new ideas, information, or technology and using them to improve their families and communities. Therefore, there should be high degree of trust, confidence and friendliness between the extension workers and the rural people (Okenwa, 2008). This is why extension education is learner-centred and the knowledge is acquired through learning by doing not by force. Extension education is also a continuous process that knows no age limit. It removes ignorance and backwardness. Its transformation process enables the learner to use the resources in his environment to improve on the total well being for enhancement of the standard of living. Igbo (2008) asserted that extension education can be defined as a continuous developmental process designed to make the rural people aware of their problems and to indicate to them the ways and means by which they solve such problems. It involves not only educating rural people to be able to solve their problems but also inspiring them towards the necessary positive actions to better their living conditions. Extension education could also be described as a system of education that involves adult learners and focuses attention on rural people. It is aimed at helping people to solve their own problems through the application of scientific knowledge for improvement of the living standard.
Extension education involves the sum total of ideas and thoughts that empower and activate the mind of an individual to change positively and improve his environment. In fact, extension education takes a diverse course because it deals with variety of learners with different needs and aspirations. These learners may be crop and animal farmers who could be literates or illiterates, urban or rural, poultry, livestock, crop, vegetable farmers that require different approaches to provide their needs. For instance, through extension education, a poultry farmer fully empowered with necessary knowledge and skills can be economically developed if he keeps to the saying (slogan) “healthy birds, happy farmer”. Best (2014) stated that a poultry farmer should learn how to detect unhealthy or sick birds, so that action could be taken immediately to reduce the risk of infection and infestation of other healthy birds. According to Best, these diseases may be introduced into the flock by:
- buying birds which may be disease carriers to mix with chicks
- allowing birds which are disease carriers from other poultry farms to mix with healthy chickens
- rodents, flies and wild birds which may be disease carriers mixing with healthy birds
- giving dirty water or feeding chickens with contaminated food
- people who may carry disease on their feet, hands or clothes
- using old litter which may contain diseases or not cleaning or disinfecting the poultry houses and
- contaminated equipment (feed and water) troughs. (p.6)
Besides, a health extension officer may be dealing with men, women and children who may be found in communities, villages, towns, schools and colleges. These classes of people including members of registered association and cooperative Societies that will be used as the respondents in study may have different ages, out looks and expectations. The members of the registered associations and cooperative societies were chosen because there are principal stakeholders in poverty reduction activities in the communities. The role or activities of the members of the registered organization and cooperative societies include giving people opportunities or avenues for acquiring knowledge and skill for sustainable livelihood and poverty reduction. Membership of these organizations are usually voluntary and open. Imhabekhai (2009) stated the basic principles of the cooperative movement that must be taught to the people include:
- voluntary and open membership
- democratic control
- membership and economic participation
- autonomy and independence
- education, training and information
- cooperation among cooperatives and;
- concern for community
The only unifying bond is their need or deprivation. Some of them could oppose development preferring their myopic ideas. The nature of extension education borders on bringing of education to the people who are not ordinarily in close contact with an educational institution. These people are likely to remain with their poor conditions unless some extension education services are made available to them.
Hence, there is need to assess extension education as a strategy for poverty reduction in Enugu state. Assessment could be described as a process of collecting and discussing information for the appraisal of a given situation. Guskey (2000) defined assessment as a systematic process used to determine the merit or worth of a specific programme, curriculum or strategy in a specific context. In the context of this study, strategy entails the leeway, escape route or a means of achieving a set objective. Strategy could also be described as an organized system, approach, plan or method used or applied to achieve a desired goal or provide solution to a problem. Duke (2004) identified the following as three types of strategies for reducing poverty;
- Political-economical strategy; this strategy focuses on the role of the state in creating and distributing wealth.
- Neo-liberal strategy; this strategy focused on the role of the market and low expanding markets that can reduce poverty by creating employment.
- Social capital strategy; the third strategy focuses on the role of civil society, non-governmental organization (NGOs) and particularly local communities in creating social-capital self-organization and mutual help.
In the African context which Nigeria is part of, with poverty growing and productivity declining, agricultural extension and advisory services are critical means of addressing poverty especially at the rural level. Extension education can create awareness on the rural people through the extension education services towards solving the immediate problems and enabling the people to become more self-reliant. These rural communities in Enugu state particularly those of Nsukka Education Zone where this study is being carried out are categorized into three local government areas namely; Uzo-Uwani, Igbo-Etiti and Nsukka. The communities require skills in the areas of moulding, basket making, carving, garri processing, fashion designing, hair dressing, health services, weaving, knitting, embroidery, shoe making and agricultural production at subsistence and commercial levels. These are some of the components of income generating activities that could enhance the living standard of members of the communities. Maduka (1994) in Igbo (2008) asserted that there are six types of extension education services in Nigeria. These are health extension, agricultural extension, commercial extension, home economics extension, industrial extension and university extension
Health extension education services help the rural people to acquire skills and knowledge on health. Through conscientization, the rural populaces become aware of their health conditions. Example, preventing the accumulation of disease infection/infestation that could cause hazards to human lives. As the saying goes, health is wealth and this is why a healthy nation produces healthy people and increased productivity. HIV/AIDS enlightenment campaign, issues on contraceptive for family planning, maternal and child care, prevention and control of communicable diseases, are health extension services. Primary Health Care (PHC) is essential, based on practical, scientifically sound and socially accepted methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford to maintain, at every state, in their development, in the spirit of self reliance and self determination for reduction of poverty (Onuzulike, 2008).
Agricultural extension services for instances, equip successful farmers who have been trained and selected from the community, to serve better in agricultural extension services delivery. This is because; the farmers are members of the community with some cultural values which promote unity of purpose. Federal Republic of Nigeria in the year 2000, stated that the training for indigenes, adults and youths in agricultural services and micro-credit scheme will give loans to credible cooperative groups and individuals at highly subsidized interest rates, (Tribune, 2003). Private concerns and individuals, NGOs and civil societies are also expected to be involved in the struggle to reduce poverty in Nigeria through agriculture.
More so, agricultural extension services provide opportunities for rural people to acquire knowledge and skills that enhance their production. It could be in form of crop production, animal rearing, soil improvement aimed at raising the living standard for poverty reduction. Oyasanmi, Eboiyehi and Adereti (2000) states that agricultural development programme (ADP) is a World Bank assisted Programme. ADP teaches farmers, modern techniques of farming as well as supply of necessary farm implements for improved agricultural production.
Commercial extension service is concerned with educating people on the need for trade. It involves buying and selling of good and services to enhance the living standard of the people. It paves way for economic empowerment. Organizations and companies use various strategies in making their customers to patronize their goods (Okenwa, 2008). The main objective of commercial extension is to introduce goods and services to the public which will improve their living standard and reduce poverty. For instance, the commercial extension services include giving information about new products, educating the people on how to use the products new persuading the people to use the products.
Home economics extension education involves acquiring knowledge and skills that equip the populace on basic information concerning nutrition and home management practices. Okenwa (2008) asserted that the general aim of home economics extension is to improve the living conditions and nutritional values of families. It is also aimed at making families to appreciate the need and purpose of birth spacing, and to have the potentials of generating income to improve the family conditions.
More so, industrial extension education creates opportunities for people to appreciate new innovative ideas, technological know-how and community development. Through industrial extension education, the level of production and workforce of companies increase for poverty reduction. So, the main objective of industrial extension education is to raise the awareness on the new ideas on services that will reduce the poverty in our communities.
University extension education service is an outreach programme that the university offers to the rural communities outside the university setting. This outreach education services are disseminated to the rural communities that have donated land to the federal government for the institution. These communities are known as host communities. The outreach services could be done through workshops, seminars, symposia, extra-mural studies, lectures, conferences, and enlightenment talks to carter for different needs of the community (Maduka, 1994). The main aim of university extension education service is to improve the lives of the inhabitants around the university setting.
In view of the explanations of the above extension education services, this study aims at assessing extension education as a strategy for poverty reduction in Enugu State with particular reference to Nsukka Education Zone. This zone is chosen as the study area because by observation, it appears communities in the zone suffer poverty. Hence, the researcher wants to find out the true situation. The silent majority of the rural dwellers on variety of extension education programmes like agriculture, home management, economics, commerce, industry, health, moral and governance among others shall not only be helped to come out of the shackles of poverty, but also make them become more functional to themselves and the society in which they live.
Furthermore, poverty in developing countries including Nigeria appears to be real and endemic particularly in Nsukka Education Zone. Poverty basically is a state of low income, low life expectancy, hunger and starvation that confront man continually. It makes the poor not capable of making substantive contributions in the society and this hinders the growth and development of the economy. An adage has it that “a hungry man is an angry man”. The poor totally depends on others for provision of basic needs like food, shelter and clothing. Such a person can neither develop himself nor the environment in which he lives.
Besides, poverty entails not being capable of harnessing and developing oneself for improvement of the economic standard of the people. Muoghahalu (2002) asserted that poverty manifest by wide spread hunger, malnutrition, poor health, general lack of access to formal education, inadequate housing and various forms of social and political isolation. Poverty could also be described as poor basic human needs such as adequate nutritious food, clothing, housing, water and health services. Poverty makes one unable to acquire or possess the usual acceptable amount of money or materials to maintain quality life. poverty disorganizes family efforts and the society at large because it leads to malnutrition, building of sub-standard traditional houses made of clay, mud, thatched roofs with straw materials that make the poor very uncomfortable. The poor living in this kind of environment is confronted with flood and human hazards like waste and pollution. Such unfriendly environment breeds insects and mosquitoes that increase the infestation/infection of diseases.
Also, in Enugu State, particularly in Nsukka Education Zone, those who bear the brunt of poverty seem mostly to be the rural dwellers. The poor are mostly the people at the grass root level that constitute the silent majority of the Nigerian populace living in slums, where basic amenities and human needs are inadequate. These poor people include women, girl children, men, youths that are voiceless and suppressed. Critically, the poor people suffer extreme hunger, illiteracy, ignorance molestation, humiliation of all sorts and disease attacks. Because, the poor are not empowered and informed, they undertake any kind of job such as wheel barrow pushing, okada work, hawking, prostitution, child trafficking to mention a few. To solve the problems of poverty without taking into consideration their education and empowerment is not a realistic approach. Poverty in rural communities in Nsukka Education Zone severally manifest through illiteracy, lack of empowerment and ignorance which make the agricultural production very low thereby aggravating hunger and extreme poverty.
The above scenario is worrisome; hence, the need for this study. To assess extension education strategies involved in asking the citizens some relevant questions such as what are the causes of poverty among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State? What are the health extension education services that are used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State? What are the agricultural extension education services that are used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu state? What are the problems militating against the use of extension education as a strategy for poverty reduction among inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State?
This is because; the citizens are expected to effectively participate in community development programmes like; non-formal education programmes through extension education in order to improve their standard of living. Extension education provides opportunities for developing talents for good leadership platform for farmers and home makers and other categories of people to acquire new innovative ideas.
Furthermore, poverty reduction connotes enhancing resources, choices, capabilities and enlightenment necessary to enjoy an adequate standard of living and other rights such as civil, cultural, political, moral, economic and social needs. Conclusively, extension education should be able to empower the rural poor to be resourceful for potential transformation and holistic development especially in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State where it seems poverty is on the increase daily.
Statement of the Problem
Poverty could be described as a state of want, need or deprivation. Education is a necessary tool for human and material development. The major instrument to success in a free country like Nigeria and Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu state in particular seems to have inadequate development, economically, educationally, culturally, politically, socially and morally for the rural dwellers due to low access to education. Unfortunately, the national growth of our country Nigeria cannot be achieved through formal education system alone. This is why there is need for Non-formal education system, in the form of extension education services especially at the grass root level. The state of want entails anything that an individual or members of the community as well as associations need. This could be in terms of basic amenities like pipe borne water, schools, hospitals, electricity, access road etc. It could also mean a state of depriving one, the right to make decision, the right of good housing, right to nutritional food and decent clothing.
Talents of children with special gifts are wasted because of lack of fund to train them in good schools, thereby creating room for vicious cycle of poverty. Extension education could be a strategy to remove these numerous problems in the community so as to reduce ignorance, low income, low life expectancy, hunger and starvation that confront the inhabitants of the state continually. This expectation is because extension education is an out-of-school programme packaged to educate the adults and youths who make up the greater percentage of the work force of the communities in particular and the nation at large. It appears there is absence of extension education services in Nsukka Education Zone, hence, lack of commitment and skill acquisition centres. There may also be lack of extension educators who should disseminate extension knowledge and skills to empower the inhabitants of the zone particularly to become more functional in the society. Consequently, there seems to be little or no improvement on the living standard of the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State, Nigeria arising from their high level illiteracy, ignorance and backwardness.
More so, the most unfortunate situation of it all is that, Nigerian population continues to increase day by day especially in Nsukka Education Zone. It gives rise to more unemployable youths and adults especially at the grassroot level. The above worries spurred the researcher into carrying out this study on Assessment of Extension Education as a Strategy for Poverty Reduction in Enugu State, Nigeria. This study becomes inevitable because it appears that extension education has not yielded adequate positive impacts in the lives of the people of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State in the area of poverty reduction. For instance, poverty is manifesting on the people as could be clearly noticed in the area. Expectedly, extension education as an instrument or strategy for empowerment towards poverty reduction could have saved the people from the ugly situation of poverty. With extension education programmes the poor should supposedly know the causes of their poverty and how to tackle the problem. But in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State, the above expected role of extension education towards poverty reduction seems to no avail vis-à-vis determining the causes of poverty, and how health extension education, agricultural extension education, commercial/home economics extension education, industrial/university extension education services could be used to reduce poverty and as well as find out the problems that militate against extension education as a strategy for poverty reduction in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of the study is to assess Extension Education as a Strategy for Poverty Reduction in Enugu State, Nigeria.
The study will specifically;
- Identify the causes of poverty among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State
- Ascertain health extension education services that can be used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State.
- Find out agricultural extension education services that can be used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State.
- Identify the commercial and home economics extension education services that can be used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State.
- Ascertain the industrial and university extension education services that can be used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State.
- Find out the problems militating against the use of extension education as a strategy for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State.
Significance of the Study
The study shall be of great significance because of the theoretical and practical contributions the findings will offer to poverty reduction as shown below. Theoretically, the study will benefit international organizations such as UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, extension education workers, community development agents, adult education facilitators, government authorities (federal, state, local) in the areas of policy formulation and analysis on community development projects and programmes on poverty reduction.
In particular, youths will benefit from the finding of this study because it will make them accept new technology and skills that will make them more functional, thereby enhancing their economic well being. The study will as well add to the stock of literature in the field of poverty reduction. Universities, colleges of education, secondary schools, Adult education centres, and adult learners will find the study significant in their areas of research activities towards poverty reduction. It will also help to add knowledge to scholars and practitioners on the appropriate strategies for poverty reduction in the society.
The study also has practical relevance on creating awareness and consciatizing the peoples mind on the inexplicable value of extension education towards poverty reduction especially in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State, Nigeria. The findings of the study will also x-ray the inevitable need for the empowerment of the rural poor, acquisition of skills and knowledge for improvement of the people’s living standard. The findings of the study will as well create awareness on the vital need for greater community involvement and participation in the community development activities for the communities in particular and the society at large.
The findings of the study will also create awareness on the need for poverty reduction programmes such as extension education programmes for easy countdown of rural-urban drift making the rural dwellers self reliant citizens it will also enable the citizens to contribute their own quota towards the socio-cultural, economic, educational and political development of the communities. The findings of the study will ensure the provision of functional literacy education for adults who have never had the advantage of attending formal school. It will also provide functional and remedial education for young people who pre-maturely dropped out of school. The findings of this study will serve as a data bank for further research in the area of extension education services towards poverty reduction in Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu state, Nigeria.
The above significance of the study could be received through publishing the findings in professional journals, seminars, conferences, workshops etc.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.
- What are the causes of poverty among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State?
- What are the health extension education services that are used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State?
- What are the agricultural extension education services that are used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu state?
- What commercial and home economics extension education services that are used for poverty reduction among inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State?
- What are industrial and university extension education services that are used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State?
- What are the problems militating against the use of extension education as a strategy for poverty reduction among inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State?
The following null hypotheses guided the study and were tested at 0.05 level of significance.
H01 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of members of registered associations and cooperative societies on the causes of poverty among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State.
H02 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of members of registered associations and cooperative societies on the health extension education services that are used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State.
H03 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of members of registered associations and cooperative societies on the agricultural extension education services that are used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State.
H04 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of members of registered associations and cooperative societies on the commercial and home economics extension education services that are used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State.
H05 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of members of registered associations and cooperative societies on the industrial and university extension education services that are used for poverty reduction among the inhabitants of Nsukka Education Zone, Enugu State.
H06 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of members of registered associations and cooperative societies on the problems militating against the use of extension education