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close this bookAPPEAL - Training Materials for Continuing Education Personnel (ATLP-CE) - Volume 4: Quality of Life Improvement Programmes (APEID - UNESCO, 1993, 95 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentChapter 1: Principles and Rationale
View the documentChapter 2: Programme Framework
View the documentChapter 3: Organization and Implementation
View the documentChapter 4: Materials and Resources
View the documentChapter 5: Training of Personnel for Quality of Life Improvement Programmes
View the documentChapter 6: Monitoring and Evaluation
View the documentChapter 7: Challenges and Issues
View the documentAnnex: List of Participants
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Chapter 7: Challenges and Issues

A. INTRODUCTION

Some of the expected challenges and issues faced by QLIP-CE programmes are tabulated below (Table 7.1):

Table 7.1: Problems Faced by QLIPs in Asia and the Pacific

No.

Challenge

Issues

1.

Rapid Technological Change

High rate of technological obsolescence and skill deficiency.

Capacity to cope with change.

Impact of technology on socio-cultural values.

2.

Growing economy of Asia-Pacific region

Growth and Equity.

3.

Availability of scarce resources

Allocation of scarce resources

4.

Organizational Structure of the future

Decentralization versus centralization.

The rise of advocacy.

5.

Absence of National Policy and directive for QLIP-CE

Co-ordination and integrated approach.

Each of these challenges and issues is briefly reviewed below.

B. RAPID TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE

Economic development will make sure that the wealth of the world expands faster than the population growth. The engine for the growing economy is technological innovation. Based on the market-system, effort is channeled to creating new machines. However, this strategy will increase the rate of product obsolescence. A neo-literate adult may find it difficult to manipulate and operate sophisticated new tools unless he or she is given special training. A good functional-literacy and CE program-me may be of great help under these circumstances. Thus change agents must be sensitive, responsive and alert, lest the problem of skill-deficiency may retard progress.

Besides causing skill-deficiency, rapid technological change may also produce negative impacts on socio-cultural values. There is a tendency for a "demonstration effect" to take place. That is many people may become dependent on imported technologies rather than developing self-generated technologies. This is particularly evident when mass-media and electronic technologies are cheap and made available to everybody. This type of negative impact weakens social-cultural values within the community. This is unfortunate because the survival of each community depends on the strength of existing social values. None will be able to cope with rapid change when the foundation for survival is weak. However, an effective QLIP-CE programme, carefully designed and diligently executed, may be able to cushion the unintended consequences of negative socio-economic development.

C. GROWING ECONOMY OF ASIA-PACIFIC REGION

Many writers have forecast that the world will experience the biggest economic boom in the coming decades. It is said that countries within the Region of Asia and Pacific will benefit most from this. However, the prosperity gained will not be equally distributed. Countries with plenty of natural resources, rich supplies of a quality work force, strong socio-economic infrastructures and possessing political stability will benefit most. Not every country in this Region has the potential to prosper since some member countries are not fully prepared. This equity issue is not felt only between countries, but is also a topic discussed within the countries. This assumption is based on the fact that poverty and illiteracy rates are highest hi this Region. The negative conclusion we can derive is the real danger of development towards mass poverty within a growing economy. However, we should not be too alarmed since QLIP-CE is an education programme aimed at improving the quality of human resources. Improved family units will enable people to cope with change while at the same time utilizing every available socioeconomic opportunity open to them.

D. AVAILABILITY OF SCARCE RESOURCES

Population grows exponentially while natural resources do not. Besides. natural resources are a given. Some countries are not blessed by nature while others are endowed by natural resources that command high market value. A country in which natural resources are plentiful and where there is appropriate technology and a good supply Of quality work-force should be able to cope with every eventuality in the future. This type of country does not have a bleak future. On the other hand, countries with few natural resources and a poor human work force will deteriorate. Such a country will have a hard choice in regard to budget allocations. The alternative is either to devote effort in human resource development or hi the socio-economic physical infra-structures needed by the ever increasing population.

The best way to confront this issue is to strike a balance since both are necessary for development. Without an essential socio-economic infrastructure, the Quality of Life will also drop since socio-economic elements of life are a part of QLIP indicators. At the same time. enough financial resource must be allocated to Continuing Education Programmes since CE is a part of the Life-Long Education System. All forms of education are developmental and are therefore worth investment. It has to he realized that the main factor which determines economic growth and improved quality of life is the quality of the human resource. Good quality human resource determines not only the rate of growth but also determines the "quality of development" itself. It is often said that there is no substitute for quality human resource. This implies that the presence of good quality human resource can overcome the shortage of natural resources. The birth of Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs) speak for the validity of this hypothesis. Singapore and Hong Kong are two countries ill-blessed by natural resources, yet they can achieve a developed economic status with high QLIP indicators.

An effective Quality of Life Improvement Programme within the Continuing Education system of Life-long Education can help every country to enrich the quality of human resource while at the same time improving quality of life.

E. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE FUTURE

Technological innovations and the wind of change that is occurring throughout the world demand a change in the way we organize our world of work. There is a possible tendency that centralized organisation will be displaced by decentralised structures. The flattened organization seems to be more popular. Besides the flattened chart, advocacy will also gain prominence. Decentralized advocacy with a matrix organizational structure (consolidated unified networks) is good for QLIP-CE programmes. Designed to meet the needs of specific target groups in attaining special objectives, QLIP-CE requires a structure that is responsive, informal and systematic. Only a matrix organisational structure can meet these criteria, (see Chapter Three).

Besides changing the organisational structure, strategies and systems, technological innovations will also demand a quality work force. Meritocracy will displace nepotism and other bureaucratic diseases. This administrative reform is also good for QLIP-CE programmes. Efficient, well-trained dedicated and enlightened «change-agents» are most desirable. Inefficient, cold and irresponsible workers must go. Matrix organizational structures empowered with legal provision to fire and hire inefficient workers will improve productivity.

F. ABSENCE OF NATIONAL POLICY ON QLIP-CE

The introduction of Quality of Life Improvement Programmes in Continuing Education is a planned process to transform our family-based community from a relatively low level of development to a desired state of being. Having no time limit, the direction of such transformation can revolve around biological, social, economic, environmental and humanistic dimensions. The goals and targets for quality of life improvement can be set at national, regional, district and local levels. The effectiveness of the programme depends on the extent of support from the government and the many agencies involved in planning, implementing and evaluating the ongoing programmes. A programme which depends on a number o development agencies to ensure its effectiveness can never survive without an effective system of co-ordination.

Co-ordination systems without strong support structures will not be effective because by themselves they will allow too much room for departmental self-interest to dictate the course of the programmes. Departmental pride and jealously can reduce effectiveness to zero. Besides reducing efficiency, poor coordination system and strategies will lead to economic wastage of scarce resources. This cannot be allowed to happen since the time will come when natural resources are exhausted.

A strategic support system must be devised to make sure that QLIP-CE programmes can make positive contributions to the development efforts of a country. The most effective strategy is to formulate a national policy. Declaring a clear and positive national policy with a firm role in contributing towards socio-economic development will produce a framework for QLIP-CE. It will integrate Non-formal Education and Training as part of any national development strategy. The development strategy will thus be balanced.

Besides setting the direction for the future, National Policy Plans can also help to strengthen operational structures at the national, state, district and village levels. The existence of structural support can be reinforced by a system of working committees. All major agencies involved in QLIP-CE activities should be involved. Formal leaders of high reputation enjoying wide influence should chair these committees. Their presence will ensure co-ordination not only among government agencies but will also infuse confidence among NGOs and the private sector.

National policy acts as guideline for future plating. While carrying the vision of the future it has the power to harness all available resources towards the desired goal.

G. CONCLUSION

The future is said to be full of uncertainties. It may bring affluence or poverty. because the future must involve many changes caused by the development process. Humankind must be ready to face that challenge. Since the very survival of the human species is at stake, every effort must be made to preserve the family flit and to foster community solidarity. Quality of Life Improvement programme within continuing education can ensure quality living for all those who care to learn. The system is able reach a large number of target groups since it is open all. It has the capacity to serve the most deprived and most isolated groups. It can be tailor-made suit people under all circumstances. It is only limited by the power of imagination of humankind itself.

Realizing the importance of QLIP-CE, it is safe to assume that a number of countries will adopt it as strategy towards attaining their goals of development since the goals of national development are also the goals of QLIP-CE. Both aim to improve the quality of life of all.