BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
All hands must be on deck in the fight towards total reduction/eradication of poverty in the West African sub region Nigeria inclusive especially since Nigeria happens to be the giant of Africa. It is no longer news that Africa as a continent is believed to be one of the poorest continents on the planet and so is West Africa in the African continent. The poverty level in Nigeria has unfortunately become so high that it is regarded as one of the major developmental challenges to her economic and social growth and development. Research has it that about 50% of the nation’s population is living below the poverty line. This means that these Nigerians cannot, with any degree of comfort, afford the basic necessities of life like food clothing and shelter. It needs not be over-flogged that this is not only unacceptable, but also pathetic. The leaders on their part have made varied efforts and attempts to check and arrest this phenomenon, fabulous sums of money have been spent over decades of trials.
The thought that education and human capital are essential for economic growth and poverty, The term human capital was firstly used in 1960’s and 70’s, when Goode (1959), Schultz (1961) and Becker (1975) gave the different point of view regarding the concept and formation of human capital. However, human capital accumulation got importance by the emergence of endogenous growth theory given by Lucas (1988) and Romer (1989, 1990). Mankiw et al., (1992) firstly used human capital in production function. It is expected that higher level of human capital leads to higher rate of economic growth. There are many ingredient of human capital i.e. education, health, on job trainings, skills, aptitudes and migration to better job, but education serves as the most important ingredients of human capital (Goode, 1959; Schultz, 1961; Khilji 2005). Nations cannot be properly developed without education. Raja (2000) argued that education is the first step in the path of development process. It is a two way process, on one side, it increases the economic growth and on the other side, it reduces the poverty and increases the productivity. It plays a very crucial role in building of human capabilities and enhances economic growth through skills and knowledge. Investors are more interested in that country, where there is more than enough stock of human capital. Education is the necessary part of human proficiency and power (Sen, 1999). Kim and Terada-Hagiwara (2010) elaborated the importance of well-educated labor force as it is considered necessary in the diffusion and adoption of new technology and new methods of production. It plays a crucial role in developing countries like Pakistan, as; they have shortages of physical and human capital. The quantity as well as the quality of education at each level with its linkages to demand for skills is very critical for economic growth (HDR, 2001; Adawo, 2011). Educational institutions, investments in education, quality of education and equal access to education play the vital role in the alleviation of poverty and enhancing economic growth (Chaudhry and Rehman, 2009). Burneth et al., (1995) said that investment in education increased GNP per capita, reduced poverty and supported the spreading out in knowledge. Education is also playing a significant role in the reducing income inequalities (Danacica et al., 2010). It also helps to lower the crime rate, terrorism and child labor through reducing the poverty. People commit these crimes as they are not capable to fulfill the basic needs of life. (Kruger and Maleckova, 2003) There has been ongoing debate on poverty for the last few decades. In particular, when we talk about globalization, economic growth, and living standards, we also talk about poverty. People living in poverty are unable to meet their basic needs, such as essential nourishment, basic health, and education. An expansion in earnings leads to a better nutrition plan, improved health, and better education. (Janjua and Kamal 2011) At the beginning of the twenty first century, over 1.2 billion people are living in extreme poverty, subsisting on less than 1$ a day. This proportion has fallen from 32 percent in 1987 to 25 percent in 1998 (World Bank 2000). Food and Agriculture Origination (FAO) confirms that the number of the people at world level reached 963 million, or approximately 15 percent of the estimated of the world population. This represents an increase of 142 million over the figure for 1990-92. (Sikander and Rizvi 2013) Education and poverty are inversely related. The higher the level of education of the population, lesser will be the number of poor persons because education imparts knowledge and skills which is helpful in higher wages. The direct effect of education on poverty reduction is through increasing the earnings/income or wages. The indirect effect of education on poverty is important with respect to ‘human poverty’ because as education improves the income, the achievement of basic necessities becomes easier and raises the living standard which surely means the fall in human poverty.
STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
Over the last decade, the level of poverty has been very alarming in Nigeria and the quality of life of the average Nigerian citizen has progressively nosedived which has been regrettable. It is so endemic in Nigeria that people have started seeing it as part of their lot in life. It is at the backdrop of this that this paper is set to examine the impact of literacy on poverty reduction as it is geared towards eradicating poverty in Nigeria.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the impact of literacy on poverty eradication in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study include;
HO: There is no significant relationship between literacy and poverty in Nigeria
HA: There is no significant relationship between literacy and poverty in Nigeria
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of immense benefit towards poverty alleviation as it tends to reveal the relationship between literacy and poverty reduction in Nigeria. The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.
SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to the impact of literacy on poverty reduction in Nigeria using Ikeja LGA in Lagos state as a case study.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.