Adult literacy programmes have existed in Ghana since 1948. Initially such programs were funded by donors, but after low efficiency rates (12.5% in the 70s), the donors cut funding. The programme was still continued by the Ghanaian government, and the National Functional Literacy Programme (NFLP) has been running in its current format since 2000. This study aims to measure the impact of this program on economic and social outcomes.
Key findings from the research show that adult literacy programs have substantial positive effects on consumption in households where none of the adults have completed any formal education. This effect becomes smaller the more educated the household is. In addition, participants in the program are more likely to engage in market activities and to sell a variety of agricultural goods. After conducting a cost benefit analysis, the authors find that the internal rate of return on the program ranges from 9.2% to 20%. Total returns are likely to be higher since these estimates do not take into account other potential benefits from participation.
Overall, this study shows that the reduction in funding for adult literacy programs in Ghana is problematic since there are clear positive impacts associated with it. The authors recommend the government to use this program as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat poverty in Ghana.