Leading and managing adult basic education and training centres : a comparative case study of two ABET centres in Kwazulu-Natal.
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Background. This study takes you on a journey back in time to the adult education offered to Blacks during the apartheid era in South Africa. It also looked at the events that had lead to the high degree of illiteracy in South Africa today. This study also ascertained the reasons for the massive unskilled workforce prevalent in South Africa in this technologically advanced age. In conducting this research on Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) it was an imperative to visit the various countries to briefly view their ABET practices and policies. In so doing their practices and policies were compared to those implemented in South Africa. Purpose. The South African government has neglected the constitutional right of adults to basic education over the last decade (Rule, 2006). This had motivated me to enquire if the practices at ABET centres were in keeping with the policies advocated by the ABET directorate of the Department of Education (DoE). The ABET centre managers represent the DoE at their respective ABET centres. Bearing this in mind this study interrogates the roles and responsibilities of ABET centre managers as purported by the DoE’s policy documents presented to these centre managers. The collection of data for this research was achieved by concentrating on three of the core duties of the ABET centre managers in practice. These core duties were administration, managing resources and managing adult educators. In so doing data was gathered from the centre managers using the processes of observations, interviews and document analysis. This data from the centre managers was further triangulated with the data obtained from the centre educators through a method of interviews and from suitably selected documents analysed at the research sites. Conclusion. The research concluded with the recommendations that the ABET directorate needed to develop more forceful and intense developmental workshops to improve the capacity and competencies of ABET centre managers and ABET centre educators in order to improve the ABET system in South Africa. Merely presenting policy documents to these vital proponents of ABET in South Africa will not improve the illiteracy rates overnight or even over the next decade. These policy documents must be thoroughly understood by the policy implementers in order for the policies to be effected as was intended by the policy formulators.