What is a Large Program situation?

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A Large Program situation is one where it appears highly likely that any literacy program which is started will become very large.


The Large Program situation may exist for any of several reasons:

  • The target population is very large
  • There is a high level of motivation for a program in the target area
  • Someone has mandated that everyone participate in the proposed program

Large Program situations are usually recognized as such when a program begins, but there are occasions when a program may grow unexpectedly and rapidly after it has begun because people see the benefit of the program and flock to participate in it.


Certain program types are also more likely to be large. For example, a Mother-tongue Education program, by definition, is almost certain to be or become a large program. Similarly, a Development-based literacy program might be a large program depending on the nature and scope of the development project.


If you or your organization are best suited to carrying out small or relatively small programs, you should consider carefully before initiating a potentially larger program. Also, the larger the program, the greater the potential need for external funding.

Indicating conditions

Here are some indicators of a Large Program situation:

  • The number of likely participants in the proposed program is greater than 10,000.
  • The total population where the program is to be carried out is greater than 100,000 and there is strong interest in literacy.
  • The motivation for literacy is very high.
  • Institutions or organizations promoting literacy are already present.
  • The regional or national government is talking of implementing a program of mother-tongue education.
  • You or your agency has a contractual commitment to carry out substantial literacy work in a given area.
  • Current rates of literacy are very low.

Here are some implications of a Large Program situation:

  • It will be necessary to find out what the policy of your entity or agency is for larger programs.
  • There will be a need to involve other agencies in the program to share program responsibility.
  • A large program almost certainly will require external funding.
  • A large program imposes substantial management and administrative burdens on the responsible agency. Those likely to be involved need to indicate their willingness to assume these burdens.
  • A large program requires a much heavier commitment of personnel resources such as consultants, technical specialists, administrators, managers, and support staff.
  • A large program will generate a higher profile in the area or country. This usually means more public relations, more attention, more public scrutiny, and more criticism.
See also

See the following online articles for more information:


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Page content last modified: 27 July 1999

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