|APPEAL - Training Materials for Continuing Education Personnel (ATLP-CE) - Volume 2: Post-Literacy Programmes (APEID - UNESCO, 1993, 112 p.)|
A. General Framework
The first volume of the ATLP-CE series proposed a general infrastructure for continuing education. An administrative structure for the post-literacy component of continuing education should be considered in that context.
The overall framework for continuing education as proposed in ATLP-CE Volume I is given in figure 6.1 below.
The special points to note about this framework in regard to post-literacy programmes are as follows:
a) Level A management should perceive post-literacy as a specific form of continuing education which has a key role in human resource development. In many countries millions of dollars, in some cases billions of dollars, have been spent on basic adult literacy with varying degrees of success. It is becoming apparent that these programmes will not make a lasting impact unless bridging activities are provided to consolidate literacy skills and prepare adults to accept responsibility for life-long learning. Therefore level A personnel need to formulate clear national policies in regard to post-literacy and to give high priority to funding in this area.
This leadership role is important for two reasons. The first is to ensure that the vast expenditure already made in basic literacy is not wasted because of regression to semi-literacy or illiteracy. The second is to develop the human potential of the nation as an engine for socio-economic development and improvement in the well-being of all. Budgets for post-literacy should reflect these key points.
Level A personnel should also appreciate that the most successful post-literacy programmes are related to the work environment. While they also make important contributions to general education they also should aim to improve work-related skills. Policy making authorities therefore, should establish close liaison with all types of employers.
Figure 6.1: The essential framework for ATLP-CE
b) Level B personnel are required for post-literacy as for any other form of continuing education. Level B personnel should develop and supervise programmes and train trainers in post-literacy. It is not intended however that there be separate especially designated staff for post-literacy. Since post-literacy programmes are only one type of continuing education they should be administered and facilitated by generally qualified level B continuing education personnel. However, such personnel should have a clear understanding of the special qualities of post-literacy programmes which distinguish them from other forms of continuing education. These are as follows:
i) They are not totally open-ended like Income-Generating Programmes (IGPs), Quality of Life Improvement Programmes (QLIPs), Individual Interest Programmes (IIPs) or Future-Oriented Programmes (FOs). Rather like Equivalency Programmes (Volume 3 of ATLP-CE) they have a bridging role. They provide a link between basic literacy and autonomous learning.
ii) Like all forms of continuing education they have a developmental role but specifically this role is to develop technical literacy and numeracy skills and the general mental skills needed for advanced learning. They should promote those learning styles characteristic of truly autonomous life-long learning.
iii) Like basic literacy, post-literacy programmes need to be based on a nationally accepted curriculum framework. That is not to say that all details of content should be centrally specified, but levels of achievement, standards for each level and broad areas of content need to be agreed for the population as a whole. This is important for the production of appropriate materials and for the training of personnel.
iv) Since the most successful post-literacy programmes are linked to the working environment they are frequently sponsored and even at times presented by employing authorities. Level B personnel, therefore, should work closely with industrial, commercial, and other employing agencies in designing programmes and in developing appropriate materials.
v) Unlike for basic literacy, post-literacy programmes can have many alternative forms of delivery - self-learning, distance learning, group study or classroom interaction in an adult learning or resource centre. They may be presented in the work place - on farms, in factories and commercial institutions. Basic literacy requires a careful step-by-step presentation under controlled conditions of teaching and learning. Post-literacy programmes are more flexible in that regard and are largely self instructional under the guidance of a facilitator.
vi) Presenters of post-literacy programmes, therefore, function more as advisers and facilitators rather than as the direct instructors required for most other forms of continuing education. They should help learners select appropriate materials, check on progress and advise on remedial action. A group meeting for post-literacy is mainly to review work completed and to advise on new work.
vii) Rather than just having one book for each level, as in the case of basic literacy, there should be many books and other types of resources for each cell of the curriculum grid. This means that level B personnel should help many individuals and organisations develop materials to «fit» the curriculum in terms of scope, objectives, levels and standards. Many of these materials should be produced locally.
c) At level C learning centres should be provided as for any other form of continuing education. Clearly, however, it is not intended to have all learning centres providing only post-literacy programmes. Some teaming centres may specialised in post-literacy, especially those located in places of employment. Most learning centres, however, should cater for all forms of continuing education. In regard to specific aspects of post-literacy, however, learning centres should be designed to:
i) provide venues for informal or structured meetings for post-literacy groups;
ii) provide a library of materials for the post-literacy curriculum;
iii) provide video systems and other forms of media for non-print materials;
iv) compile a detailed catalogue of all local agencies and individuals providing services in post-literacy;
v) promote the development of local materials for post-literacy.
vi) Cater for both vocational training and general education with the framework of post-literacy development.
B. An Overall Infrastructure
In terms of general management ATLP-CE Volume I proposes an overall infrastructure for continuing education based on the general framework shown in figure 6.1. This infrastructure is given in figure 6.2:
Figure 6.2: An infrastructure for continuing education
The special points to note about post-literacy in regard to this infrastructure are as follows:
a) Qualities and Inputs at Level A
The National Coordinating Committee for Continuing Education (NCCCE) and its Executive should include members who are especially interested and qualified in the area of post-literacy. In particular they should include representatives of industry and commerce to present an employers perspective. Since post-literacy programmes have unique qualities and characteristics which distinguish them from other forms of continuing education they need carefully formulated national policies including the development of a nationally accepted curriculum framework.
Inputs to the NCCCE should include a strong leadership from cabinet indicating government concern for continuing education in general and for the special role of post-literacy. Strong political will and financial commitment are essential if post-literacy programmes are to be successfully implemented.
The type of post-literacy programmes advocated in this volume are new and have not yet been implemented in Asia or the Pacific. They therefore need to be thoroughly researched and to be based on sound educational and psychological principles.
Their roles should be seen to be consistent with national plans for socio-economic development. This implies that the NCCCE and its Executive Committee should have available to them the latest relevant research findings and all details of government plans for future development.
Level A personnel should initiate and supervise the development of a national post-literacy curriculum framework and should establish and generally monitor a national system. They should draw on level B personnel and other qualified continuing educators to design the overall post-literacy curriculum and develop an infrastructure.
b) Level B Administration
The Provincial or Regional Coordinating Committees for Continuing Education (the PCCCEs) and their Executive Committees should include as part of their responsibilities the establishment, monitoring and supervision of post-literacy programmes, the training of post-literacy supervisors, and the direct and indirect development of post-literacy materials.
A key role for level B personnel would be to develop a regional post-literacy curriculum based on the nationally agreed framework. This curriculum should reflect regional concerns and be sufficiently flexible to meet local needs.
Since the range and numbers of learning materials required for post-literacy programmes au-e much greater than for basic literacy, it is slot anticipated that all such materials would be produced by level B officers of the Continuing Education system. What is needed would be the production of suitable prototypes, perhaps one or two for each «cell» of the curriculum; the production of guidelines for authors and producers and the commissioning and supervision of production by numerous agencies nationally, provincially and locally.
Special training programmes should also be developed for those level C personnel who will be specialising in post-literacy. These programmes should be specialised components of more generalized training in continuing education - see Chapter 8.
The other responsibilities of Level B personnel in regard to post-literacy would be to monitor and facilitate the post-literacy activities of the learning centres in their local areas, including those located in factories and other places of employment.
c) Level C Administration
Since post-literacy programmes can have a variety of delivery modes - self learning, distance learning, informal group meetings or structured face-to-face programmes - the main concern of an infrastructure at level C is to ensure easy access and the provision of the full range of learning materials for the post-literacy curriculum
Learning centres are essential in this regard and play a key role. In the first place they should function as post-literacy libraries, secondly as meeting places for both informal and structured post-literacy groups and thirdly as linkage points for the many providing agencies and individual learners. In particular there should be personnel available in the learning centres who can present structured programmes and who can advise individual learners on all aspects of their work. These local facilitators should also work with local providers to help them initiate and implement post-literacy programmes.
Post-literacy programmes are less structured than basic literacy programmes but are more structured than some other forms of continuing education. Since they depend for success on the development and implementation of a national curriculum framework and the production and use of carefully graded materials they must be implemented through a nation-wide administrative infrastructure staffed by well-trained and responsive personnel.
In the past, many Member States have relied entirely on informal approaches and have depended heavily on non-government organizations without providing the necessary guidelines including a curriculum structure, carefully defined steps with agreed standards and an agreed approach to materials design. It is not surprising, therefore, that post-literacy programmes have been, in the main, «hit or miss» affairs with doubtful impact. Their implementation through a carefully planned infrastructure therefore is seen to be essential.