1.1       Background of the Study

African countries and other developing nations today are marked by poverty and other development challenges. They are faced with the problems of high population, malnutrition, low infrastructure, unemployment and many more. Hence the urgent need for change and improvement is one of the elements that can help create conditions and accelerate development. Knowledge and information are essential for people to respond to the opportunity and challenges in their environment. People need information and knowledge to make decision and improve their situation. Without information they would remain in the same state not achieving growth or development.

Since the technical feasibility of television was established in 1931, and its consequent exploitation in 1946 as an audio visual medium of communication, it has successfully penetrated most societies and established itself as the most influential of the mass media on earth. As cultural form and technology, television has indisputable style evolved as a complex multidisciplinary sphere of activities engaging in a wide range of scientific and artistic minds. As an industry, it has become inextricably interlocked with the economics of the countries in which it operates and is in some cases indispensable to the economy. Wilbur Schramm and other mass communication scholars see television as an important development index which has also been directly linked to the development process in any society. (Izuora, 1993)

Television has influenced individuals and indeed, whole societies, both at the superficial and the deep personal level; generating the process  of normative reactions ranging from extreme of vilification to accolade of exultation. An analytical approach would, indeed, show to both protagonist and antagonist that television is all of that and more. But the question is how does all these relate to Rural Development?

To the Nigerian mind, “Rural” conjures the image of those places which are cut off from the structures and amenities available in urban areas for the improvement of the quality of life, which are dogged by ill-health, poverty and ignorance with rural dwellers excluded from meaningful participation in government policies and programmes affecting their environment and their lives thereby hindering rural development. For the rural dwellers to be adequately educated on government programmes, they need to be constantly fed with information that will mobilize them to participate in government programmes. And the television is armed to make this possible. The need for information is crucial because, “A passive poorly informed community is a barrier to development.”(Udoaka, 1998. p.14). For societies to achieve development there is need to have an educational oriented programme about development to the people of these societies and to get this information there is need for an effective system of information sharing (effective medium of communication). This is because communication usefulness in the process of development is evidence in its role of facilitating transfer and the acceptance of new ideas and knowledge as well as assisting in the mobilization of people through transmission of values (Solomon and Margret 2010 p.1).

In Nigeria, television educational programmes are broadcasted by both private and government stations for the purpose of creating awareness. Experience and research have it that people’s behavior is, by and large influenced by what they see and hear and out of the entire media organs in the world, television has actually emerged as the most powerful for molding public opinion. This is because while the print media (both newspaper and magazine) appeals to the sense of sight the radio appeals to the sense of hearing, the television appeals to both the sense of hearing and sight because of its audio visual capability. As a result picture appearing on television screens help to influence a large number of people’s opinion regarding a specific goal.

The mobilization of the masses for effective participation in rural development is such a crucial factor. It is, therefore, not surprising that social mobilization programmes to enhance development in rural areas have all used the broadcast media especially television to educate the illiterate rural persons, miles away in a language he/she understands. Today, due to the numerous awareness programmes sent across by the broadcast media, many rural folks are abandoning many precarious acts that have continually pulled societies back there by reducing development activities in these areas (Izouro, 1993). 

The need for education in rural areas of Nigeria can therefore be understood, because no country with such a high percentage of its population in the rural areas can develop without the active participation of its members, and that is why representatives from over 150 countries and non-governmental organizations came together at the world conference on education for all, held at Jorntein Thailand in 1985 and resolved to provide educational opportunity designed to meet their basic educational needs. However a new policy direction in education was initiated known as the “Achieved Universal Primary Education” (AUPE). Kofi Anan stated that it is of the “time bound” goal of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG), which is aim at ensuring that all the youth in the world are able to receive full primary education by the year 2015.

In recognizing the importance of the media to impact knowledge, the Nigerian government has as a matter of policy, the inclusion in the national policy of education (2004) that “the broadcast media educational broadcasting shall form a feature of educational support service system. And to achieve this all state broadcasting services, ministries of education and other educational agencies shall work closely with the department of technology and science education as well as Federal ministry of education which will play a central coordinating role.”

This statement largely explains why most state government media houses allocate time to educational programmes in their local stations. Educational media therefore plays a very important role in the teaching and learning process of people (Santas, 2011).

However, it is pertinent to say that television is an effective means of message transmission because of its audio/visual ability; therefore it can be used for an efficient delivery of development oriented massages. These types of messages involve the transmission of development programmes, which is aimed at educating rural dwellers on how development can be achieved in these areas.

Television as a facilitator of development communication can be used for information dissemination, education and persuasion. Television can also perform the following functions in other to enhance development in any given area especially rural areas: 

  • Dissemination of messages to a large, heterogeneous audience who are anonymous simultaneously;
  • Raise awareness and knowledge on community issues;
  • Mobilizes community members to tackle issue of collective interest;
  • Enlarges the forum for social dialogue;
  • Can be used for training and transfer as well as exchange of knowledge and technologies.
  • Its programmes can be produced in the local language of the people to make for easy understanding, assimilation and recall of messages.

Nevertheless, messages being disseminated from television are called programmes and produced using such materials as producers; directors; presenters, talents and music. Each specific programme has the ripple effect of educating, informing entertaining and awareness creation as its main purpose and objectives (Audu, 2009). Programmes are subsumed under such headings as news, educational programmes, documentary programmes, children programmes, feature programmes, and talk programmes. These and other types of programmes reflect the purpose of the programme and the nature of the audience.

In summary, the implementation and attainment of rural development does not depend on the government alone as the saying goes, “education for all is the responsibility of all “ no programme can afford to neglect the role of mass media, as information is planning, decision making and implementation can also be provided and communicated through broadcasting which may include television broadcasting and that is why this research is focused on the influence television educational programme has on rural development  

1.2. Television Broadcasting in Nigeria            

In Nigeria, television began through regional initiative, unlike radio which had started in the country through the initiative of the Federal Government. This was so because, as Okenwa (1993:55), cited in (Okunna 1999, p.75) assert that, “The politics of Nigeria just before independence placed more emphasis on developing regions than the center. Television became the innovation that was to enhance the pace of regional development”.

Television broadcasting began in Nigeria in October 1959 when the government of the former Western Region started the first television service in both Nigeria and Africa – the Western Nigerian Television (WNTV) in Ibadan. The following year, on October 1st 1960, the former Eastern Region followed the example of the west by establishing the Eastern Nigerian Television (ENTV) in Enugu. The Federal Government went round to establish its own television service and later started the Nigerian Television Service (NTS) in Lagos in April 1962, the same year, the government of the former Northern Region also started its own television service called Radio Television (RTV – Kaduna)

As in the case with radio, ownership of television stations is no longer the exclusive preserve of the government. Private Broadcasting started in Nigeria in 1993, and there are now a number of private television stations making their mark in different parts of the country. Such television stations include: Minaj System Television (MST) based in Obasi; African Independent Television, all in Lagos; Galaxy picture in Ibadan; IBW Television in Benin; and Desmims Television based in Kaduna. There are other television stations doted around the country, including Satellite or Cable Television Stations like Minaj Cable Network, the first privately-owned Cable Television Channel in Africa; Multi Choice etc.                                 

1.3. Statement of Problem

Rural and Urban Areas in Nigeria have disparity in literacy level, and most of the population in the country lives in rural areas and are grossly illiterate. If the populace is largely illiterate, it means that the conventional media approaches may not be strictly applicable in the provision of vital information necessary for development. Although television can produce programmes, in native tongue, the scarcity of gadgets and electricity in most remote localities, render them ineffective, at best they can play a complimentary role.

If the rural dwellers are to be sensitized to adopt innovations, then an appropriate campaign strategy is needed to affect the desired result. Any approach which does not take the literacy level of the people and their living environment into cognizance is not likely to have any impact on the people. What then is required to be done? This is the problem of the study. It is borne out of the necessity to counter problems which hamper message dissemination and consumption in rural areas.

1.4.      Objectives of the Study

  1. To determine the influence television educational programmes have on rural development.
  2. To find out the problems of communicating television educational programmes to rural areas.
  3. To evaluate the influence of television educational programmes on rural development.
  4. To find out the role of television educational programmes on rural development

1.5       Research Questions

  1. Do television educational programmes have any impact on the people of rural areas in Kogi State?
  2. Do television educational programmes influence development in rural areas?
  3. Do rural dwellers have any role to play in achieving rural development?
  4. What are the constrains to effective communication of television educational programmes to rural areas in Kogi state?

1.6       Scope of the study

The research was restricted to Lokoja Local Government Area so as to ensure proper management of information and data collection within the stipulated time.

1.7       Significance of the study

The significance of the study cannot be over emphasized, it is therefore hoped that this research would be significant in the following ways:

  1. The government would be in a better position to utilize the findings of the research in formulating its policies regarding development in rural areas.
  2. It would provide insight on how rural dwellers can participate in the development of their areas.
  3. It is hoped that findings from this study will contribute to the body of knowledge and stimulate more research interest by student’s researchers, media organizations, government and non-government organizations.
  4. It will further stimulate interest in Rural Broadcasting

1.8.      Limitation of the Study

The study is limited to the aspect of television educational programmes and the development of rural areas in Kogi State.

1.9       Operational Definition of Terms.

Influence: This refers to the role and impact Television Educational Programmes have on Rural Development.

Television Educational Programmes:  These are audio visual messages aimed at providing instructions, and supplementary materials to audiences in a diverse spots at same time.

Rural Development: It is an action and initiative taken to improve the standard of living in non-urban areas and remote villages.


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