The implications of new policy and legislation on non-formal adult education programmes : a case study of the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute.
This study identifies and describes the implications of new policy and legislation on non-formal adult education and training focusing on the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute (KZNPI) Five Months Poultry Management Programme. This is a non-formal residential course during which the learners assume full responsibility of a small modern diversified school farm. Learners apply the theoretical and practical knowledge they acquire during the course in order to advance their practical skills. Poultry management forms an important component of the knowledge and skill pool within the poultry industry. The development and implementation of effective programmes that educate and train managers are therefore necessary and an absolute requirement. Effective management skills and knowledge of the poultry-related operations add significant value to productivity in the workplace. It is a valuable set of skills required in the industry and it needs ongoing revision in light of changing technology, new working operations and the generation of new knowledge. In 1997 the South African government declared new policy in education with the intention to transform education systems and to improve the quality of education provided to learners in a variety of settings. The most important policies and legislation include the Further Education and Training Policy, Skills Development Act, Skills Development Levies Act and the South African Qualifications Authority Act. Policy and legislation in Further Education have been implemented over the last three years. This study investigates the impact of policy on the KZNPI Management Course. The study suggests that the new legislation poses significant changes to non-formal education programmes as well as the way in which providers of non-formal programmes operate. The legislations have not only affected the course design, provision and delivery, but the funding of non-formal providers as well. This is a case study of a non-formal programme provided by a non-governmental organizations located in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. This case study included an in-depth examination of the key policies and legislation, related literature and the use of interviews as the key methods of investigation. Data analysis involved a comparison of policy and legislation requirements to practices by non-formal adult education and training programmes. South Africa has embarked on a particular process of systems transformation in education and training with emphasis being placed on programme design and delivery based on nationally recognised qualifications and standards. Systems of accreditation and quality assurance are unfolding based on standards and this has contributed to the formalisation of non-formal programmes. The study shows that non-formal programmes, such as the KZNPI management course, require significant re-development and design in order to meet the requirements set in policy and legislation. The KZNPI is expected to redevelop its courses and have them registered and accredited. The implications of new policy and legislation also pose profound challenges for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the KZNPI. Although the impact on the organizational requirements was not the focus of this study, it is intricately linked to policy reform and it is impossible to ignore them because they are directly linked to the organizational capacity and the way programmes are designed and delivered. This study therefore also describes briefly the implications of policy and legislation on the organization. Funding of non-formal education programmes is one of the key determinants and is intricately linked to the registration and accreditation of education and training programmes. It poses significant challenges to the future of non-formal education and training in the country.