|APPEAL - Training Materials for Continuing Education Personnel (ATLP-CE) - Volume 3: Equivalency Programmes (APEID - UNESCO, 1993, 69 p.)|
Equivalency programmes in secondary education are intended for the graduates of primary school, or its equivalency who cannot or who may not wish to proceed to formal secondary education and for secondary education drop-outs. The clientele are usually unemployed out-of-school youth and adults who are ambitious and self-motivated, or youth and adults who are seeking accreditation for employment or promotion, and those who are unable or unwilling to attend formal secondary education. Normally, they are 13 years old and above.
The clientele need to be informed and motivated to enrol in equivalency programmes because a key aim is to develop a learning society. All people need to learn life-long if the overall quality of life is to be improved.
Learning guidance should be provided by the management of the equivalency programmes, both before and during the learning processes, for the effective implementation of programmes.
B. DELIVERY SYSTEMS
As far as possible, efforts should be made to integrate the motivating factors in the learning materials. One aspect is the way learning materials are written, that is, in the form of modules, or self-instructional, or do-it-yourself materials with or without kits which facilitate self-learning or autonomous learning. Other aspects might be the relevance of illustrations used, the relevance of national songs, and so on. Both the software and the management of equivalency programmes must be made relevant and attractive.
Like any other out-of-school educational programme equivalency programmes must be flexible in nature, and should help the learners in employment and income-generation. As mentioned above, equivalency programmes should be a preparation for the world of work without closing the door for future study. Therefore, the delivery systems must also be flexible, and the possibility of using a combination of two to three delivery systems simultaneously should not be overlooked.
One. The first and most obvious type of delivery system is the classroom type setting or learning group approach using various face-to-face teaching methods, including modern and traditional audio-visual aids. The contact sessions would not be as regular as in formal secondary education and would depend on the nature of the courses or subject matter taken and the available time of the learners. The classroom type or learning group delivery system should also be made flexible to suit the needs of both the learners and the «volunteer» teachers or tutors. This system should use methods relevant and appropriate to both the clientele and to the purpose of the programmes.
Two. The second type of delivery system is distance or correspondence learning which should be combined with the learning group and the self-learning or autonomous learning approaches. The software prepared for distance learning, either through basic textbooks, newspapers, magazines, or radio and television should encourage discussions in learning groups. The «learning-together» idea facilitates mutual encouragement and mutual learning processes making learning more effective, efficient, and productive.
Three. The third type of delivery system is the self-learning or autonomous learning delivery system. Even very highly motivated learners will not use this delivery system alone. Thus, as already elaborated above, this should be combined with learning groups or classroom type settings.
Consequently, one may say that some of the learning materials may be studied individually, and then have the mastery level tested in the learning groups or classroom-type setting before the final examinations (Level 1, then Level 2 of equivalency programmes, either general or vocational non-formal education). Some others may be studied directly in a learning group, or in a classroom followed by discussion, perhaps, after listening to a radio or television broadcast. Still some others may be related to relevant skills (for earning a living) and can be practised together in a small learning group.
C. LEARNING RESOURCES
Besides the learning materials (textbooks, reading books, etc.) developed and produced in the form of self-instructional or do-it-yourself materials (with or without kits) other learning resources are also very much needed. These are reviewed below:
1. Teachers, tutors, and facilitators
The principle to be applied in out-of-school educational programmes in general, and in equivalency programmes in particular is the effective utilisation of any available and willing educated personnel, i.e. teachers (with teaching certificates), secondary education graduates and university graduates as tutors (to be trained in relevant teaching methods), and learning facilitators or organizers. These educated personnel must be trained in motivational techniques, in programme management, and in teaching techniques not only approaching the whole learner (cognitive, affective, and psychomotoric domains) but also in provision of functional knowledge, relevant skills, and in the development of appropriate mental attitudes. NGOs could have an important role hi the provision of suitable personnel.
2. Facilities and equipment
The principle to be applied here is the utilization of any available facility, such as the home, the school, the mosque or the church, the learning centre, the commercial centre, learning group sites, etc. for the implementation of the equivalency programmes. The same principle applies also to the provision of learning equipment, both traditional and modern, such as audio-visual aids, traditional games and plays, laboratory equipment for scientific experimentation and so on.
3. Testing instruments
Because there is a free movement (entry, re-entry) from in-school into out-of-school secondary education programmes and vice versa, then there is a need to have some kind of mastery tests for placement purposes. Besides, there is a need to have diagnostic tests to be used in order to identify the most appropriate learning processes for the learners, both in terms of the difficulties faced and also the things which facilitate learning. For Levels 1 and 2 equivalency programmes there should be standards equal to formal secondary education grades 9 and 12 with the competencies they entail, and for this purpose the development and provision of standardized tests is a sine-qua-non.
4. Individualised records
As mentioned above, equivalency programmes should be implemented in a flexible way. This means for one thing that even final examinations may be administered one subject at a time, or all subjects may be tested at the one time. Therefore, there is a need to keep individualized records on learners progress. Such records are also important because the secondary education equivalency programmes may last from three to six years and cumulative records should be maintained.
5. Acceptance certificates
Level 1 and Level 2 certificates of equivalency should be accepted, either for entering relevant levels of secondary formal education, both general and vocational, or for entering the world of work. This acceptance is very necessary in boosting equivalency programmes in the country and in the movement towards the evolution of a learning society, and the concept of education for all and all for education.
6. Learning Centres
Learning Centres are an especially important resource in all types of continuing education but especially for equivalency programmes. They provide alternative venues to those provided by the formal educational system and as such can be made appropriate for mature adult learners. Being separate from formal schools they can offer activities and extended hours (including school hours) and can therefore promote flexibility and innovation. They provide focal points for a wide range of community activities of which equivalency programmes may be one among many. Learning Centres may be government sponsored or provided by NGOs.