A case study of Endleleni Adult Education Centre and how it relates to the community in Madadeni, KwaZulu-Natal.
Adult education contributes to poverty mitigation and enables members of the community to acquire knowledge and skills for development within their local communities. The White Paper for Post-Schooling Education and Training in South Africa has moved towards a new vision of adult learning sites as community colleges. This shift is intended to enable youth and adults to access formal education within their local communities. This case study explores centre-community relations at Endleleni Adult Education and Training (AET) centre in Madadeni, KwaZulu-Natal. Given the context and vision of community colleges as adult learning sites, this study examines the relations that exist between the Endleleni AET centre and the community that it serves. The study examines the links to other institutions in the community and how the relations impact on the effective functioning of the centre. It also examines how adult education impacts on the lives of the learners in terms of livelihood, civic participation and family life. Literature reviewed for this study focused on: the adult education system in South Africa, policy and basic education in South Africa, the concept of community and AET centres in the community, adult education and livelihoods and private adult education. A case study design within a qualitative approach to data collection necessary for this research study was employed. Focus group interviews, semi-structured individual interviews and participant observation were used as key methods for data collection. Data was examined using both systems theory and social capital theory because of their interrelatedness. The findings for this study show that there are relations at Endleleni AET centre between the learners, teachers and the community based on mutual trust. Good relations with the host school is a great resource to the centre in a number of ways, including the provision of a venue to the AET centre. There are links with the ‘war rooms’ and church for recruitment of learners. The other links are extra murals and gardening, suggesting a holistic care approach that the centre offers to the community. The good relations at the centre are attributed to a strong and efficient centre manager.