A comparative study of learner and management perceptions of ABET English level 4 in selected companies in Durban.
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This is a qualitative, comparative study of management and learner perceptions of ABET English level 4 in a range of companies around Durban. South Africa's past is characterized by separate and unequal education and an ABET policy has been created in an attempt to address these educational inequalities. The legislation surrounding ABET creates a consistent approach intended to achieve economic growth and social transformation. During a long period of involvement in ABET, it appeared that the problems with and complaints about English level 4 were the same in all companies. In order to investigate and compare learner and management perceptions and expectations, a qualitative study was conducted with interviews being the main means of data collection. Twenty-seven learners and ten managers participated in the research with education levels ranging from Standard 5 to a post matric qualification. The interviewees were drawn from employees within the manufacturing, shipping, commercial and hospitality sectors. It was found that the expectations of managers and those of learners are often unrealistic and are not aligned and there is disillusionment when these expectations are not met. There is a complete lack of understanding as to the nature of English level 4 and I ascribe this to the perennial problem of the perceived value of soft skills in this profit driven business and production environment. Recommendations are made as to how the expectations surrounding English level 4 can be more realistic and how the situation can be improved.