An investigation into the adult educators' knowledge, understanding and application of the principle of learner-centredness in adult basic education and training (ABET) centres in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu- Natal.
This study investigated ABET tutors' knowledge, understanding and application of the principle of learner-centredness. The study was conducted at three adult education centres in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Using questionnaires, interviews, classroom observation and analysis of documentary evidence such as learning programmes, tutors workbooks and learners' workbooks, the researcher was able to determine and assess the ability of ABET tutors to interpret and apply the principle of learner-centredness in practical classroom situations. The study showed that not all ABET tutors base their learning programmes on learners' needs, which is a key principle of learner-centredness (Jarvis, 1985). The study showed that some ABET tutors are not conversant with the policy framework of ABET and that this seems to affect classroom practice. The study revealed that Centre managers are not complying with Department policy with regard to monitoring and supporting tutors. Furthermore, the findings from this study expose some of the flaws in the implementation of ABET, like the lack of professional competence on the part of some ABET tutors. This lack of professional competence is cause for concern and requires attention from the ABET Directorate at district level. Key recommendations emerging from the study are that the ABET Directorate should conduct more monitoring of ABET centres and should provide more training for ABET tutors and centre mangers, as proposed in the Multi-Year Implementation Plan of 1997. In particular, tutors could benefit from workshops on needs identification and analysis.