A needs assessment for a workplace literacy programme : incorporating basic skills training with job-related instructional material within the textile industry.
Historically in South Africa, the education and social systems have worked together to deny black people both competencies and opportunities for significant participation.There are over nine million people in South Africa who cannot read or write. (Hutton, 1992) South Africa is not the only country with this problem, newly liberated countries have also had to respond to the problem of illiteracy. In South Africa many progressive organizations have initiated literacy work and have recognized the need for adult basic education. Workplace literacy has become an important national issue. It is of concern to employees, employers, unions, vocational and adult educators. But what does it mean to workers on the shopfloor and how can they benefit from such programmes. In our increasingly technological society, different workplace demands are being placed on workers. Companies try to assist their workers by offering training and retraining programmes. It sounds good, a problem has been recognized and steps are being taken to fix it, but there is something missing. Little mention is being made of the needs and rights of workers themselves. The objective of this study is to identify the literacy skills of workers and the necessity for determining job literacy requirements for employment positions. Research has shown that the level of literacy in the workplace is not determined by a grade equivalent but by the literacy needs of the workplace. In trying to identify the above objective it is important to look at what is meant by workplace literacy as well as significance of workplace literacy and its importance within a social and economic context.