|APPEAL - Training Materials for Continuing Education Personnel (ATLP-CE) - Volume 4: Quality of Life Improvement Programmes (APEID - UNESCO, 1993, 95 p.)|
A. PROBLEMS OF IMPLEMENTATION
Like any other programme, a Quality of Life Programme in continuing education will face a number of constraints during its conceptual planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation stages. Among the constraints, the more prominent are:
a) Psychological barriers
i) Vision Gap
ii) Confidence Gap
b) Absence of Technical and Human-Relation Skills
c) Economic Constraints
d) Administrative Constraints
e) Lack of Political Support
f) Structural Problems Each of these constraints is briefly discussed below:
(a) Psychological Barriers
All QLIPs involve a planned process for change from the present state of being to a more desirable situation. The future is unknown and it requires a mind of high intellectual capacity to map out the desired future quality of life. The task is not easy since it involves value judgments. However, aspirations of national leaders could be taken as a guideline. These are usually expressed in a form of public policy statements.
Problems and issues within this category are most pronounced in local areas. In the local region, policy and programme managers are less qualified and possess less experience. They are faced with the problem of integrating needs of target groups into the aspiration of the nation. To adapt the nation/state programme towards the actual needs of local people requires not only vision but the ability to understand the sub-culture of the target group. Only an enlightened local change agent will be able achieve this and this quality is not easily available. However, continuous training and practice may be able to bridge the vision and confidence gaps which can exist between the programme advocators and neo-literates. It will also help to reduce stereotyping, an error which is so common when dealing with groups of people coming from different socio-economic backgrounds with different sets of values.
(b) Technical Skills Required
An effective QLIP must be able to blend aspiration and vision of the leaders with the demands of local people. Besides the desired vision of the future, effective programmes involve correct assessment of needs, correct prioritisation of areas for intervention, selection of implementing strategies and the right form of evaluation. All these processes call for efficient collection and analysis of data. However, the skill required goes beyond data collection. It also involves the skill to choose QLIP indicators and the correct choice of QLIP criteria. Other than these technical skills, a certain degree of skill in human relations is required since the best source of data is the target group itself. Only warm positive human relations will produce effective results.
Like conceptual skill, technical skill is weakest at the lowest level. An error in data collection may produce inappropriate and costly results. However, like any other skill, technical and human relations skills can be acquired. A well designed training programme, diligently executed, can produce required results. Action-training research is a technique with which every change agent should be familiar. See Chapter 5. The use of action training research which allows room for target-group participation is most helpful since it paves the way for collective decision-making. Collective decisions strengthen the programme and reduce the rate of failure.
(c) Economic Constraints
In some countries, economic constraints are not dominant but what is lacking is political will. However, some countries in our Asian Pacific region are economically poor. They can be so poor that it may break the political will of the leaders. Nevertheless the cause is not all lost. Treating QLIP-CE programme as a strategy for human resource development should be seen as a gainful investment. Besides investment in this sector is not expensive. There is no necessity for the government to set aside large allocations for continuing education infrastructure. The existing physical infrastructure readily available everywhere should be utilized involving a «Complementarity Approach» among Non-formal and Formal education institutions. This will reduce the annual budget, increase economic efficiency and produce higher returns for every dollar invested.
Besides making full use of all the physical infrastructure available in the public sector, the private sector should also be drawn into this programme. The private sector may be interested in a particular project since the economic spill-over improves productivity. The society at large too has the potential to contribute to the project. This possibility should be examined in detail because this strategy will inculcate a spirit of self-reliance. All projects with low technical input and low financial cost should be left to the target group to plan and implement. The role to be taken by the change agent in this situation is as a mobilizer and facilitator. Besides minimizing cost, this strategy eradicates a spirit of dependency among target-groups.
(d) Administrative Constraints
In the public sector administrative constraint may be strong. Bureaucracy tends to be somewhat unresponsive whereas QLIP-CE programmes are dynamic since they are designed to meet the changing demands of time. Financial rules and regulation may be the most serious problem. Special attention must be given to this issue because delay in financial support is costly to the programmes. Any delay in programme implementation is disastrous. It kills the motivation and imagination of the target-group. Once let-down people become disillusioned and so other efforts to encourage people to change may be futile.
To avoid such situations administrative planning must be diligent comprehensive and precise. Everything must be budgeted. Special procedures for expenditure must be devised This is essential since items required for neo-literate programmes are different from normal development programmes.
An over-centralized administrative structure is another constraint. An organisational system that commands only from the top is detrimental to the programme. It may become cold and overbearing. A decentralized system supported by technically able change agents is most desirable. However, even if the structure is decentralized and personnel are trained, programme planning and implementation may encounter administrative constraints if there is no co-operation among organisers. Many agencies are involved in QLIP-CE projects. Only strong interagency networking can help solve this problem. This is best served by a working committee system. Working committee systems which are at all levels including the village are most appropriate. This administrative design is conducive for participation of programme organisers, development agencies and programme beneficiaries.
(e) Political Support
Countries with the most effective QLIPs are those with clear-cut and previously formulated policies for national development. With strong political commitment, suitable and relatively inexpensive infrastructures and implementation strategies can be established. Without this political will which provides a positive national framework, there is a danger that development at the local level will be ad hoc and uncoordinated. Development occurs from above down and from below to the top. In the absence of a strong positive political ethos and a coherent infrastructure there is danger that successful local innovations will not be replicated and valuable lessons will be lost.
(f) Structural Problems
Those countries which have successfully addressed major structural problems most likely will have the most successful QLIPs. Structural problems seriously affecting development include, for example, inequality in the status of the sexes; lack of equity in the distribution of resources such as land and property; wide gaps between the living standards of the wealthy and the poor and problems of human rights and freedom of decision-making and participation in national affairs. Countries which have reduced the seriousness of these structural problems provide a positive climate for change.
In developing an organisational structure and implementation strategies for QLIPs these various constraints should be kept in mind. Systems and strategies which reduce their negative affects and maximize positive aspects should be stressed.
B. ORGANIZATIONAL, STRUCTURE
a) QLIPs and a Cross Sectoral Approach
The quality of life in our region is still low, but we are convinced that the quality of life may be improved through continuing education. Continuing education has been defined as «all learning opportunities that all people need outside basic literacy and primary education.»
In order to be effective, a quality of life improvement programme (QLIP) needs to be designed and devised in cooperation with other educational and non-educational institutions, both governmental and non-governmental, such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Association of Workers, the Womens Association, and there is a need to inform and to motivate such institutions, and to encourage their participation in QLIPs implementation.
The improvement of the quality of life of allupgrading the living standards and lifestyles of all citizens is the responsibility of all the people and their organisations. But, this requires an attitudinal change because in order to be able to perceive the need for raising the quality of life, one should accept the idea that «the problem a low level quality of life involves all the activities of the people and their organisations», not just of a single person or an institution. With this attitude people can move in unison and be able to solve their problems. This attitude will do away with defending institutional territories.
Since the planning and implementation of QLIPs are the responsibility of all the people - GOs and NGOs alike , then we should endeavor to develop and implement QLIPs through both a harmonious bottom-up and top-down planning processes, and a cross-sectoral approach. Bottom-up and top-down planning processes are more realistic in dealing with the needs of the people. With this approach almost everybody gets involved and participates fully and positively. A cross-sectoral approach should be applied, not only at the national level, but also at the state/provincial level, and especially at the local (implementation) level. This cross-sectoral approach will guarantee the successful planning and implementation of QLIPs. QLIPs, being part and parcel of national development plans, will therefore penetrate all levels and sub-sectors of the community.
The concept of intersectoral linkage is shown diagrammatically in figure 3.1.
Figure 3.1: Linkages between agencies involved in QLIPs.
Relationships shown in figure 3.1 suggest that networking is one important strategy for the implementation of QLIPs. Any organisational structure developed for the implementation and administration of QLIPs, therefore, should facilitate the emergence of suitable networks linking all relevant institutions and agencies.
b) QLIPs and Education for All
When discussing an expanded vision and a renewed commitment of education for all, the World Declaration on Education for All (Jomtien, Thailand, 9 March 1990 page 7) mentioned as the heart of it, necessary new and revitalized partnerships at all levels, as follows:
i) partnerships among all sub-sectors and forms of education, recognizing the special role of teachers and that of administrators and other educational personnel;
ii) partnerships between education and other government departments, including planning, finance, labour, communications, and other social sectors;
iii) partnerships between government and non-governmental organisations, the private sector, local communities, religious groups, and families.
These new and revitalised partnerships at all levels, as already mentioned above, are also very much needed by QLIPs if they are to be effective and successful in the improvement of the quality of life. See figure 3.2.
Figure 3.2: Partnerships in the implementation of QLIPs
c) QLIPs and NCCCE, PCCCE, LCCCE
The National Coordinating Committee for Continuing Education (NCCCE) as proposed in ATLP-CE Volume I should make sure that all the relevant agencies and organizations of QLIPs at all levels (PCCCE/LCCCE) participate fully and positively, not only in ensuring the existence of a political will, and a commitment to implement QLIPs, especially at the local/village level, in the administration and organization in general in support of the QLIPs implementation, but also in the provision of budget, personnel, and technical knowledge and know-how needed at national, state/provincial, district, sub-district, and village levels. The NCCCE should have a regular programme of introducing QLIPs to the people through the mass media and others to elicit their support in QLIPs implementation, and to motivate them to work hard and productively for the improvement of the quality of life. The Provincial/State CCCE as implementors of policies will promote QLIPs, train providers of QLIPs, and facilitate activities in the promotion of QLIPs. So also with the District and Sub-district CCCE if any, before one is dealing with the Village QLIPs. In some countries, the Learning Centres in Sub-district capitals may help the Sub-district CCCE in the coordination and implementation of QLIPs.
This type of structure is illustrated in figure 3.3.
Figure 3.3: Levels of implementation for QLIPs
d) Village QLIPs and DELSILIFE
At the village level, QLIPs should be implemented by the Village Community Council. Usually, the Council is responsible for all development efforts in the village, in the following fields: security; education and information; economy; construction of infrastructure and village environment; religion; health; population and family planning; family welfare development; youth, sports and arts; and social welfare.
In each of these development efforts, one may organize learning programmes which will help in the improvement of the quality of life. Thus QLIPs will not only be in the "education and information" sectors alone! When it comes to learning programmes for the improvement of the quality of life, education in its broadest sense encompasses the totality of life in a community and therefore includes all sectors or areas of living.
The term learning programme emphasises the educational nature of the intervention system that is DELSILIFE - (Development of a Coordinated Educational Intervention System for Improving the Quality of Life of the Rural Poor through Self-Reliance)*. Whether in small neighbourhood learning groups or in the community council, the acquisition of problem-solving skills through learning programmes is vital since these are capability-building and develop those empowering skills which people need to cope with the demands of their physical and social environment.
* Boeren. Ad. and Kater Adri (Eds.) Delsilife and Educational Strategy to Fight Poverty (CESO Paperback No. 9). The Hague: Center for the Study of Education in Developing Countries (CESO), 1990. The quotations are from pages 19 and 53.
The Village Community Council should encourage first, any educated person to help the less educated/poor people, and second, the formation of learning groups who are studying certain programmes of interest to them, all-in-all with the purpose of improving the quality of life of the villagers.
The interventions system proposed by DELSILIFE is summarised in figure 3.4.
Figure 3.4: The DELSILIFE Educational Intervention System.
Note: KSA: Knowledge, Skill, Attitude.
The organisational structure shown in figure 3.4 has the following four components.
i) A Community Council. In the context of QLIPs this would be the Village Committee.
ii) An Area leader. In the context of QLIPs this could be the chairperson of the Village Committee or his or her designated representative. The role of the Area leader would be to ensure full participation by all local people, to organize project groups and to ensure that group leaders are trained.
iii) Group leader. A member of the QLIP group especially trained as coordinator and facilitator.
iv) Sectoral and Non-Sectoral Agencies. These provide services, resource personnel, materials and equipment.
Processes implemented under a DELSILIFE approach are summarised below in figure 3.5.
Figure 3.5: The DELSILIFE Process
The DELSILIFE approach is appropriate for the organisation and implementation of QLIPs at the local level. This is because the core of the process (figure 3.5) is a learning programme. The processes follow the model of QLIPs given in Chapter 2. The process starts with needs assessment (where we are now), determines what is to be achieved (where we want to be) and how to proceed. Learning activities aim to develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills concerned with improving the quality of life. They are project and action oriented, and promote the skills of problem-solving and development action.
C. IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES
The implementation strategies must become part and parcel of national development policies in order to guarantee the effective implementation of QLIPs.
Through a coordinated effort of devising QLIPs in order to have the characteristics such as participation; clearly defined targets; linkage to a change model; action-orientation; family orientation; especially linkage to national development plans, the following strategies are recommended.
a) In the implementation of QLIPs, one should first thoroughly study all aspects of a programme for quality of life improvement, because the organizational structure and its implementation strategy might differ from one programme to another. For example, a national campaign against AIDS will usually be undertaken by the Ministry of Health or a National Committee under that Ministry, then the NCCCE, QLIPs division, would plan a strategy, not only to integrate its action at the Centre, probably just to inform or to collaborate with the Ministry, but more. For instance, it could help prepare «learning materials» perhaps in the form of «do-it-yourself» kits and to distribute them to learning groups in the villages and informing the PCCCE and the LCCCE about this activity.
Steps to be taken therefore can be summarized as follows:
i) Study of a programme in terms of the target group, the goal to be attained, the learning materials used, the organisational structure and the implementation strategy.
ii) Popularization of the programme aiming at eliciting not only learners enthusiasm, but also of supporting organisations and individuals.
iii) Formation of learning groups for QLIPs, as far as possible promoting «learning-by-doing».
iv) Action, i.e. activities aiming at improving the quality of life.
The multisectoral emphasis is at the core of such implementation. This idea is summarised in Figure 3.6 below:
Figure 3.6: QLIPs involve multi-sectoral development
b) A QLIP should not be implemented in isolation, but it should be related horizontally with other sectors, such as health, and vertically with other continuing education programmes. For instance, a village QLIP may be associated with others and with other CE activities outside the village. This type of linkage is illustrated in figure 3.7 below:
Figure 3.7: The integrated approach of QLIPs involving both vertical and horizontal linkages.
c) A QLIP must be integrated as far as possible with socio-cultural aspects and values, or with the socio-economic aspects including business and enterpreneurship, in order for it to be an effective programme for the improvement of the quality of life.
This idea is illustrated in figure 3.8.
Figure 3.8: Social control of QLIPs
d) If a QLIP has been effectively implemented in a poor village, then one should study it thoroughly with the idea in mind of its replicability, because a QLIP is designed to alleviate or eradicate poverty nation-wide. The greater the number of beneficiaries the more successful the QLIP. See figure 3.9.
Figure 3.9: Replicability of QLIPs
e) If a certain QLIP in a village cannot be implemented effectively without personnel with specific technical or professional skills from outside the village, then the LCCCE should be able to provide such experts. If LCCCE fails to do this then there should be a way to appeal to the PCCCE, or even the NCCCE. This idea is illustrated in figure 3.10.
Figure 3.10: The need for access to specific technical skills in the implementation of QLIPs.
f) The implementation of a QLIP in a village should encourage families to be involved in all the activities, and this should be a major focus, because if the quality of life of each family in a village is good, then the quality of life of that community as a whole is good. This aspect is illustrated below in figure 3.11.
Figure 3.11: The participatory approach of QLIPs and the focus on family involvement.
g) All educated or learned people available in the village should be mobilized to assist learners in the implementation of QLIPs in that village. By this means, an acceleration of the process of improving the quality of life of the villagers may he achieved. See figure 3.12.
Figure 3.12: The role of volunteerism in the implementation of QLIPs.
h) QLIPs must start from where the people are, and slowly, surely and steadily move toward a better quality of life physio-biological and socio-mental-spiritual; thus avoiding an upheaval, and guaranteeing sustainable development. Only this rational type of approach will ensure lasting effects. See figure 3.13.
Figure 3.13: A balanced strategy for the implementation of QLIPs.
Since QLIPs are one type of continuing education, organizational aspects and implementation strategies should take full advantage of any infrastructure established for continuing education as a whole (see ATLP-CE Volume I). The special qualities of QLIPs, namely their development focus and their intersectoral needs, however, mean that linkages with all institutions and agencies involved in development is especially important.
The problems of implementation raised in Section A of this Chapter will be readily resolved if the bottom-up and top-down strategies outlined in this Chapter are effectively applied.