The goal of this priority programme is:
“to create a learning society by providing adult and non-formal education linked to lifelong learning opportunities that meets the diverse learning needs of all and which contributes to personal, societal and economic development”.
The high level of illiteracy in the adult and youth population is a barrier to achieving its development goals, particularly that of lower middle income economy status by 2025. Improving adult literacy rates will also support other development goals. Children with literate parents stay in school longer and each extra year of education for mothers is also associated with a significant decline in infant mortality and improved child health.
The National Adult Education Strategy implemented through the ESDP IV put a special policy focus on IFAE. The IFAE two-year programme for 15–60 year olds, provides mother tongue reading, writing and arithmetic skills development integrated with practical knowledge and skills, for example in relation to family health, hygiene and sanitation. It is designed to make use of inputs from other development workers (agriculture, health, etc.) and builds on indigenous knowledge. It seeks to link numeracy and literacy skills to livelihoods and skills training in agriculture (including off-farm activities), health, civic and cultural education, etc. and requires delivery by various governmental and non-governmental service providers in multiple settings.
The initial ESDP IV target, based on assessments of literacy conducted prior to ESDP IV plan preparation, was to enrol 36.4 million 15–60 year olds in a two-year IFAE programme. In 2012, however, the Central Statistical Agency Welfare Monitoring Survey Report estimated there were 20.4 million illiterate youth and adults. The ESDP IV target was accordingly adjusted with an ambition for 19.4 million adults and youth to complete the two-year IFAE programme inthe plan period. Of these, 7.2 million (35% of all illiterate 15–60 year olds) graduated from the two-year IFAE programme (of whom 54% were female). There remains a target group of 13.2 million adults (from the original 20.4 million), to complete the IFAE programme. Of these, 9.2 million are female and 4.0 million are male.