Adult literacy education in Botswana: Planning between reproduction and resistance

Tonic Maruatona, Ronald M. Cervero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This article explores how planning the Botswana National Literacy Programme aided the state in maintaining its power and control over the past two decades. Using critical educational theory as the theoretical framework, it demonstrates how the planning of literacy education promotes conventional views of literacy and perpetuates state hegemony. It analyses how educational planners addressed competing choices of language, audience, and instructional design based on issues such as social status, gender, ethnic differences, and geographical location. The state views planning as a non-contested exercise representing different interests and common concerns. It has, however, met with some defiance from planners and facilitators who engaged in overt and quiet dissent from its hegemony. Consequently, the article explores ways to decentralise decision-making and devolve power to the district levels through using a participatory approach to involve all stakeholders in planning for the programme to respond to the learners' life tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-251
Number of pages17
JournalStudies in the Education of Adults
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Botswana
  • adult literacy
  • literacy campaign
  • programme planning
  • resistance


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