Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Adult Post-Literacy Education in Imo and Lagos States of Nigeria

Author: Nzeneri, Samuel

Supervisor: Lekan Oyedeji

All educational elements demand both human and material resources to accomplish their set objectives. Educational resources are scarce relative to demand for them, thus educational systems are facing critical resources problems. Based on this topical problem of education. Bell (1960: 139) aptly stated that 'one obvious huddle is lack of fund for education; ironically adult education of all educational elements faces the greatest huddle.' The expansion of formal and non-formal (adult) education programmes is accompanied by a growing demand for public and private resources. The scarcity of these resources induce many people to continue 'demanding greater accountability of the public education sector because education can no longer afford luxuries, it must have proof of cost-effectiveness' (Kielt and Spiutzer 1977:42). Commenting on the above educational problem, Kasl and Anderson (1983:12) stated that this situation requires method for comparing the cost-effectiveness of different types of educational sponsoring organisations such that programme managers and administrators will use appropriate guidelines for establishing financial policy within the organizations. Some other scholars observed that since educational expenditure continued to increase dramatically programme outcomes do not appear to be rising (Geske 1979, Mohammed et al 1988). Adult literacy education programmes in Nigeria are not free from the above problems. Adult literacy field workers in Nigeria stress the point that most of their programme centres have serious financial and wastage problems. Adult post-literacy education programmes in the public and private sectors in Nigeria may be facing these problems in similar or in different dimensions. The adult post-literacy education programmes in the public and private sectors which are facing constrained resources and wastage in the form of high dropout and collapse rates lead one to question the effectiveness of such programmes. Cost effectiveness analysis is a tool that assists programme managers and administrators choose among alternatives, on the basis of least counts and greatest effectiveness (Geske 1979: 453.) It is also a technique for comparing programmes and may be used to assess similar programmes for different student population (Carpenter and Haggart 1970:26). This study is concerned with cost-effectiveness of adult post-literacy education in the Imo and Lagos public and private sectors of Nigeria. Cost-effectiveness indicators are inputs and outputs of adult post literacy education. The input variables are all the tangible and quantifiable resources used in the programme; these are measured in monetary terms (cost); while the outcomes (performance) are measured by students' performance scores (Geske 1979; Rossi et al 1979). Other output indicators are the rates of dropout, collapse, success/failure and completer rates. This research study tries to investigate the adult post-literacy dropout, collapse, completer and performance score rates as well as the unit cost for training an adult and the cost-effectiveness ratios of the public and private sector programmes. This study therefore compares the rate of the above indicators in the public with those of the private sectors. Some other factors which influence the programmes inputs and outputs, such as the participants' characteristics are analysed. This study tested these hypotheses:- 1. The dropout rate of students in the public and private sectors of adult post-literacy education will be identical. 2. There will be no significant difference in the collapse/mortality rate between adult post-literacy education centres in the public and private sectors. 3. There is no significant difference in the unit cost of training an adult in both the public and private sector programmes. 4. The measured performance indicators in the public and private sector programmes will show no significant difference. 5. There are no significant differences in the cost-effectiveness ratios between the public and private sector programmes. The above hypotheses were analysed or tested with data collected from the field. The instruments used for data collection include two sets of questionnaire, interview schedule; documents and records as well as direct observation of programme centres. Thirty-four programme centres, involving twenty-three public and eleven private centres were sampled for this study. From these centres seven hundred and sixteen students, thirty-four instructors and six supervisors were sampled to provide information needed for data analysis and hypotheses testing. It is found from the results that there existed significant differences in the students dropout rates and in the programme centres collapse rates between the public and private sector programmes. We, therefore, infer that the public sector programmes have higher wastage (collapse and dropout) indicators than the private sectors. Test of significance does not show significant difference in the unit cost of training an adult between the public and private sectors. The performance scores of students in the programme's three compulsory subjects are found to show significant differences between the public and private sectors. The cost-effectiveness ratios of these two sets of programmes did not show any significant difference. This perhaps implies that resource utilization in both the public and private sector programmes is not efficient. Generally we deduce that since the private sector programmes show lower wastage rates, higher performance score rates and no significant differences in the mean annual cost of training an adult, than the public sector programmes, the private sector programmes can be said to be more cost-effective than the public sector programmes. It is worthy to recommend that the adult post literacy education and other education managers and policy-makers should identify the lapses in the public programme sectors which promote higher dropout and collapse rates as well as the factors that minimize students performance. Efforts must be made to encourage accountability of educational resources especially among public programme participants. The programme participants should be motivated by paying their instructor regularly and by providing readings, instructional and recreational facilities. Problem candidates especially the old adults and those with family problems should be given extra help to promote their interest and continued participation in the programme. Restriction of programme expansion is a necessity where resources are inadequate to maintain new programme centres.