The role of non-formal education in development : a perceptual analysis of the KTT's interventions.
The total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of sub-Saharan Africa1in 1987 totalled about $135 billion, roughly the equivalent of Belgium with its population of 10 million (World Bank, 1989). Africa's deepening crisis is characterized by weak agricultural growth, a decline in industrial output, poor export performance, climbing debt, and deteriorating social indicators, institutions, and environment" (World Bank, 1989; 2). The World Bank's report (ibid) concludes that ''post independence development efforts failed because the strategy was misconceived. Governments made a dash for "modernization", copying, but not adapting Western Models". These strategies, although often differing on ideological issues resulted in poorly designed government investments in industrial development; a lack of interest or attention to peasant/'grassroots" agriculture and interference by governments in areas where they lacked the managerial, technical and entrepreneurial skills. When the political dimension of the South African government's repressive policies over the decades are superimposed upon the dismal scenario sketched above by the World Bank report, large scale poverty, instability, exploitation, ethnic strife, corruption and inequality, can be expected to exact a high toll on the people of South Africa. This dissertation examines the parameters within which development interventions should be undertaken, given their poor track record in Africa. It also studies the role of non-formal education (NFE) as a development activity,which impacts upon and interacts with, many other development interventions. The importance of this study can be found in the faet that given the extremely hostile environment for sustainable development in South Africa, strategies need to be evaluated against very stringent and exacting criteria. Para-statal organisations (not to mention government agencies) are inclined to reflect the wishes of their masters, thereby often obfuscating the real issues of development i.e. the elimination of political imbalances. Not only does the dissertation therefore come at an opportune time for the KIT but also for the development of the people of the region, in the sense that given the urgent demands for reparation for the sins of the past, new energies and resources are being focused upon the needs of the disenfranchised. The dissertation departs somewhat from a two-dimensional conceptualisation of development which normally sees it as a continuum between underdevelopment on the one hand and modernity on the other (Coetzee, 1989B)The three-dimensional approach applied in both the theoretical and empirical of the research, and which also touches upon time as a fourth dimension, enables the researcher to analyse the inter-dependencies of the various dimensions, thereby creating a different (if not new) mind-set in the evaluation of the KTT's activities. This should consequently raise new issues for development agencies to consider as development is primarily related to the creation of meaning (Coetzee, 1989B). Interventions designed to develop others can thus only be assessed in terms of the totality of people's needs which must include issues such as respect, esteem, freedom and justice. The findings of the dissertation are characterised by a very strong acceptance by the respondents of KTI's interventions. Despite some strong criticisms relating to the KTI's follow-through after training, it is clear that change was brought about in especially the economic dimension. The findings do, however, also indicate that KIT's approach to its development task does not sufficiently take into account the socio-political needs of the people and that its outcomes were focused primarily on the income generating capacity of the target population. Given the theoretical multi-dimensional basis of the study, it is trusted that consideration can now be given by the planners of the KTT to issues relating to a holistic need to create meaning in all dimensions. The dissertation finds that NFE plays an important role in development it also finds that NFE is neglected in the region when assessed against the extent of poverty and inequality. New priorities need to be set in the compilation of a strategic agenda for the 1990's.The World Bank (1989) indicates that: • more account should be taken of social reforms; • increased funding of human resource development is required; • development strategies should be people-centred; • institutional reforms at every governmental level must be pursued; •The nexus of weak agricultural production, rapid population growth, environmental degradation and urbanisation must be overcome by innovative and thoroughly co-ordinated strategies; and • westernisation should be rejected as being synonymous With development. This dissertation adds to the pool of evidence that unless rapid and massive investments in the human resources of the region are made, the capital injected into infrastructure, industrial development, housing etc. will be suboptimised and not lead to sustainable self-reliance.