|Functional Literacy, Workplace Literacy and Technical and Vocational Education: Interfaces and Policy Perspectives - Studies No. 5 (UNEVOC, 1995, 66 p.)|
For the policy maker, policy analyst or planner, a synoptic review of the preceding four sections of this paper should have generated or reinforced some important understandings, among them, the following: (i) that we already are all inhabitants of a global village and there does today exist within humanity a craving for a moral world order that would bring justice to all the world's peoples, though it is also quite clear that such a moral and just world order is far from actualization; (ii) that humanity today does not want to tolerate the emergence of a future world order by default, as the world drifts rudderless in the sea of uncertainties, but that people want to actively participate in the design of their own destinies; and (iii) that the systematic dissemination of science and technology, and related developmental knowledge is seen today as a necessary part of the acceleration of the processes to ring in this new world order.
In relation to life and life-work of humankind, some further understandings can be expected to have emerged, namely, (a) that functional literacy, workplace literacy, and technical and vocational education are all different approaches to the same one societal need for the reproduction of labor; (b) that there are affinities among and between the general objectives of functional literacy, workplace literacy and technical and vocational education even though technical and vocational education is typically conceptualized as preparation for work, and functional literacy and workplace literacy are typically seen as increasing productivity of youth and adults who are already at work within the economy; and (c) that none of the three projects - functional literacy, workplace literacy, and technical and vocational education - can today be carried out effectively without more than rudimentary literacy skills on the part of trainees - enveloped as we are in a worldwide culture of print, necessitated and, at the same time, made possible by advances in science and technology.
The enterprise of educating and training youth and adults - boys and girls, men and women - for work in their lives as described above under functional literacy, workplace literacy, and technical and vocational education does not by any means present a perfect picture. There is scope for Utopian imagination by leaders, bold initiatives by policy makers, and challenges of implementation for planners. The enterprise of social reproduction of labor that all societies must undertake has to be principled, professional and practicable.
In a policy perspective
In a policy perspective, three interrelated questions must be asked and then, depending upon their answers, affirmative and corrective actions must be undertaken. The three questions are: are the policies and programmes spawned by those policies principled? Are they professionally sound and supportable? And are they practical?
The normative criterion of being principled would lead to some of the following questions: is the recruitment of trainees to technical and vocational education programmes fair? or is such recruitment based on social class or race? On the other hand, is it possible that the technical and vocational education track in schools is, perhaps, serving as the only channel of upward mobility for the lower classes and other excluded racial groups? Again, is recruitment to various vocations and levels of responsibility gender biased? In an international perspective, is technical and vocational education and training and subsequent employment serving the interests of international capitalism to the detriment of economic interests and health of the common people and the environment of the country? The same set of questions can be asked in regard to workplace literacy programmes provided by industry or commercial establishment.
Functional literacy programmes, which historically have been offered to adult men and women in rural areas, to be principled, would not blindly promote cash crops at the cost of food crops that might enhance the foreign exchange reserves of the state but may also bring malnourishment to families and alcoholism to family heads who may spend cash on buying beer rather than nutritious food for the family or furnishings for their homes. Again, functional literacy training should not reinforce existing patterns of gender inequality and exploitation by offering agricultural training to rural males when family plots and gardens where food is grown are in fact cultivated by females, or by denying women credit when they are the ones who need it for agricultural inputs.
The normative criterion of being professionally sound and supportable would, again, lead to a series of questions: Is there conceptual clarity among organizers about technical and vocational education, workplace literacy, and functional literacy; and clear understanding of the implications of these concepts in regard to curricular content, programme development, implementation, institutionalization, sustainability, and possibilities of networking and interfacing with other programmes of education and development? In the area of technical and vocational education, is tracking, if tracking must be done, fair? Does it come too early? Is the tracking once done absolutely irreversible? Are the instruments of evaluation used in tracking professionally defensible? Are they free of race, class, language and gender biases?
Is there appropriate clustering of skills to expand learners choices or are there too many specialisms? Do programmes exist for connecting schools with future employers? Does the training as provided actually get trainees specific jobs without imprisoning them in specified work spaces? Are the components of culture and technology within the curriculum well balanced and well integrated? Are the curricula of both culture and technology educational enough, challenging enough, and rich enough in insights that are transferable to other settings of life and work?
With workplace literacy, and functional literacy programmes are the curricular components of literacy and functionality well integrated? Is there a rich variety of instructional materials amenable to self-paced individual study? Are the materials culturally sensitive and pedagogically effective? Is teaching done in a framework of mutuality and trust? Is awareness and empowerment given due place in the curriculum? Does the curriculum increase the personal effectiveness and social skills of trainees outside the workplace and away from the farm? In other words, does the programme join increased productivity with personal empowerment?
The normative criterion of being practical would compel the following questions: Can the programme as designed be delivered? If the programme is being tested as a pilot, is it possible to take it to scale? What configurations, and networks among individuals, groups, institutions and communities will have to be developed for its adoption, adaptation, incorporation and implementation? How would the existing institutions be reinvented and renewed? What linkages will have to be created and maintained? What resources will be needed by innovators to promote dissemination of the programme initiative and what resources will be needed by adopters to incorporate it?
Analysis of education and training systems: organizational, and curricular solutions
It is not possible, within the scope of this paper, to attempt a systematic and detailed application of the whole set of policy analytic criteria listed above to all of the three sectors of functional literacy, workplace literacy, and technical and vocational education. In the following, we discuss only the most important curricular and organizational challenges that must be met.
There is an implication in the preceding discussions of functional literacy, workplace literacy and technical and vocational education, that these three sectors overlap in their missions and methods, and could profit from a convergence in both theory and practice. It would be useful to think of a conceptual category under which all of the three sectors above can be subsumed. This may be named "Education and Training for Work" (ETW). Each of the three projects in our cluster of concern - Functional Literacy (FL), Workplace Literacy (WPL), and Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) - then would become an instance of ETW.
Theoretical synthesis is a virtue that needs no justification. Integrating the three concepts of FL, WPL, and TVE under one overarching concept of ETW provides a new mutually enriching perspective that would be good for all the component part of the larger concept. Theoretical synthesis should lead to policy interfaces which in turn could deliver practical dividends. Policy makers, planners and organizers in the three currently isolated areas can plan for and conduct joint projects, helping each other design their individual projects, or otherwise engage in many different ways in resource sharing.
The challenge that should not be neglected is to create models, modes and approaches that serve all of the three categories and all of the clients and constituencies that must be served. These new categories and constituencies must include highly developed societies, newly industrialized countries (NIC's); underdeveloped societies and the Least Developed Countries (LDC's). They must pay attention to the formal economy, the family economy, the informal economy and the underground economy, a part of which has come to be the "corrupt" economy. Interests of all should be served, of men and women, of children, and of the able and disabled.
(A). ETW in formal settings: Technical and Vocational Education sector
In discussing technical and vocational education sector (as part of ETW), we should anticipate to deal with three sites, a formal education (FE) site, a site best described as alternative formal education (AFE), and a non-formal education site (NFE). In this section, we will comment on the first two, Formal Technical and Vocational Education, and Alternative Formal Technical and Vocational Education:
Schools for Children (Formal)
Spare-time Schools for Adults (Alternative Formal)
Adults on Farms and in Factories (non-formal)
The same one "model" is offered for the formal and alternative formal categories. Both curricular (X1-X3) and institutional aspects (Y1-Y3) are discussed. The non-formal category will be discussed in a separate section to follow.
A "Model" to synthesize available experience
The "model" being offered is not by any means a bold new departure but is an attempt at synthesizing experiences which have become available from around the world in the area of (i) curriculum development in technical and vocational education (ii) building partnerships in education and training between educators and employers and (iii) and in building institutional interfaces between education and work. The net is thrown wide to cover the historical experience with technical and vocational education all over the world, covering developed and developing countries, macro and micro states, and both our successes and failures in the implementation of technical and vocational education projects.
The so-called model is actually a set of approaches, that is, a way of viewing that should be used by technical and vocational policy makers, planners and practitioners in different parts of the world to develop situation-specific models and approaches of their own to suit their special needs in a particular time and place, responding to the levels of technology, needs of the economy, background of learners, and availability of infrastructures for delivery of instruction.
The four components of the approach
Such a generic way of doing should have four components:
1. Choice of an appropriate curricular core of technical and vocational education
2. Institutional interfaces between education and the workplace
3. Structural factors, and
4. Superstructural themes.
Let us deal with each of the above in a little greater detail:
I. Curricular core and organization
The curricular core should include the following:
a. The often neglected new superstructural values relating to the new world order, the new concept of development and of good life, the new ethics of frugality, the new meaning of work, and a culture of tolerance and peace should all be included in the curriculum. We know that to increase the probability of peoples learning these new values, such values must be taught. We should not assume that these values will somehow become known and internalized in some incidental way.
b. An integrated Yin-and-Yang relationship between culture and technology in the curriculum is an other must. The world we live in is a world of science and technology. Science and technology permeates all the life of all the people. Therefore, all children going through basic education should learn about science and technology. In the age of synthetic diamonds, rehabilitation of old masters through laser technology, the times of plastic flowers, and computer generated poetry, does it make sense to separate general education from vocational and technical education? Why should we not have education for all and techno-vocationalization of all education? We make the bold assertion that all general basic education today should be made techno-vocational and so reconstructed that the distinction between general basic education, and technical and vocational education becomes unnecessary.
While science and technology permeate all life, they find their greatest application in workplaces both in developed and developing societies. This being the case, general basic education should be oriented quite clearly towards the use of technology in vocational settings. Since technology keeps on changing, and with it the structures and contents of vocations, the content of science, technology and vocational orientation should be general enough for quick adaptations to a variety of technical and vocational sectors. The core idea of the set of approaches, therefore, is the techno-vocationalization of all general basic education. The successive focussing leading from the new general education to the specific is demonstrated in the following. (See the Figure on next page.)
At the same time, emphasis on technology and vocationalization should not squeeze out the cultural from the educational experience. By the time, boys and girls have completed the upper secondary or the compulsory cycle of the school, they should also have been enabled to inherit the best of the intellectual and aesthetic tradition of their culture and developed sensitivities to the traditions and cultures of other peoples as well.
c. Attention should be given to the need for work for all clients and constituencies in all places in the world, both men and women, within both formal and informal economies, in both urban and rural settings. The point has already been made before.
d. Twining for new vocations dealing, for example, with peace extension, conflict resolution, health maintenance, environment both physical and aesthetic, water and air resource development, cultural production and consumption should be developed and made available.
Literacy programmes will provide the basic literacy and numeracy skills needed in a culture of print.
The compulsory stage and the upper secondary stage of education will teach culture and technology in symbiosis - never one, without the other. The scientific and technological as well as the social scientific underpinnings of work and vocations will be included at this stage. Both generic social skills and generic vocational skills will be taught. Values of peace and tolerance and themes of environment and new concepts of work will be woven into the curriculum.
After the stage two described above, many would join the world of work and they should be prepared for particular work in the specific vocational settings in which they will work. Such preparation would hopefully include orientation to the man-machine and machine-woman dyads, and to the social setting of the workplace; learning the set of knowledge and skills peculiar to a vocational cluster; technology of particular vocational clusters; and orientation to the work bench and the work tools.
Those who continue a programme of further education and/or a specialized programme of education and training at work will have several institutional patterns and modes of delivery. At the end of these education and training programmes men and women will again enter the world of work at higher levels of skills, responsibilities and rewards.
The general organization of the curriculum may be graphically presented as follows:
HIGHER VOCATIONAL SETTINGS
CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION IN THE UPPER
Figure. Organization of the curriculum for the new century, redefining the general, and connecting the general with differentiated technical and vocational education curricula and institutions.
II. Institutional interfaces
The second component of the four-part general approach being proposed here is institutional interfaces between education and training institution on the one hand, and the employing institution on the other hand. There should be a distribution of labor between them in preparing people for work. Neither business and industry, nor sectors of development extension, such as agriculture, health, nutrition should expect that all technical and vocational preparation for work will be accomplished within the formal school system and all they will have to do is to interview and to recruit their workers.
The first layer of literacy skills should be the responsibility of both the formal and nonformal education agencies. The second layer of the four layers of the above curricular system should be conducted within the formal educational system. The third layer should definitely be the responsibility of specialized industrial and trade councils and individual work sites. The fourth layer should be subject to negotiation and be conducted in the sector best suited to do so. The fifth and last layer ideally should require more orientation than training and should again be the responsibility of employers.
III. Structural factors
Even the best designed and best implemented ETW would be of no avail if the world of work outside changes drastically and beyond recognition in the meantime, or if serious distortions appear in the economy. This means at one level the need to understand the changes in the economic realities surrounding the ETW projects; and at another level to organize and implement suitable political interventions that will lead to a congenial work environment.
IV. Superstructural themes
In the same way, the values and attitudes of both the employees and the employers would determine whether those well trained in technology and vocations find appropriate jobs. The employees may have unrealistic expectations, or the employers may not want to hire some for racial and other prejudicial reasons. Some employees may not be able to make the transition from the world of education to the world of work in a psychological sense and may fail to find or retain jobs. Other superstructural themes will be discussed later in the section on frame factors that will analyze the larger system of the political economy surrounding ETW projects today.
As indicated in the beginning of this section, the above discussion applies to both the categories of FE and AFE. We now turn to the third category of Nonformal Education in the Technical and Vocational Sector in a separate sub-section in the following.
(B). Modes of delivery in non-formal settings
The curriculum content model proposed above makes suggestions for delivery and for the institutionalization of delivery of services with emphasis on formal and alternative formal settings. In the following emphasis is on the non-formal settings.
The educators' challenge in the non-formal sector
The educator's challenge in the non-formal sector is by no means ordinary. The challenge is to provide ETW to suit the specially urgent, short-term, and long-term educational and training needs of adults most of whom may already be in the economy. These are people who can not come to school and therefore the school should go to them. There will have to innovation both in the definition of ends and in the design of means. The most important discriminating characteristics of non-formal education at its very least are that:
1. NFE is not merely preparatory, but can be and quite often is immediately put into practice.
2. NFE is not pre-designed and pre-packaged, but is often contextually-designed to be responsive.
3. NFE is not hierarchical, but often modular - though it could be cumulative in regard to some pre-determined long term objectives.
Connecting non-formal ETW with actual work
The important challenge of connecting education and training with the world of work that we faced while discussing formal ETW does not simply go away when we move to the nonformal sector of ETW but appears again in several complex and difficult forms.
In Functional Literacy more often than not, the participants have been housewives in villages and city slums, men and women farmers and vendors, etc. They may have been subsistence farmers and producers or self-employed. The challenge has been to connect them not with institutions of employment, but with institutions of extension services in agriculture, childcare, health and family planning, and to enable them to make use of their newly acquired literacy in their transactions with their environment.
In Workplace Literacy participants are typically already employed. They must be empowered in relation to their own employers; know how to advance in their careers; and how to receive what should indeed be coming to them. They should also link with social services and be connected with institutions of continuing education such as distance education institutes.
In regard to the delivery of functional literacy there are at least three modes - projects, programmes and campaigns. The mobilization of the campaign and the sustainability of program approach can, of course, be combined. Income generation activities are also included within functional literacy programs in partnerships with appropriate extension workers.
In workplace literacy, delivery is typically on a single site or a cluster of sites belonging to the same corporate conglomerate. When workplace literacy is provided in partnership with the unions, with the state, or a state-supported NGO, then the sites and modes of delivery may differ in several ways.
Training for small-scale/micro enterprises: delivery in the consultancy mode
There is a dilemma in the institutionalization of non-formal ETW. On the one hand, to ensure continuity one needs a system of some sort. On the other hand, systems once established have a tendency to formalize and standardize. The challenge is to create institutions that enable, not control - provide resources without imposing a centralized vision of means and ends.
Non-formal technical and vocational education is, by definition, not formal. Its strength is in being responsive rather than standardized, and randomly-accessed rather than hierarchically ordered. Ideally, technical and vocational education experiences for groups in the non-formal sector should be tailor-made, anew, every time. That, of course, would require considerable resources. In the real world, the tendency is always to economize effort and to package technical and vocational training in programmed modules written in the competency-testing mode. Instead of getting a tailor-made garb, the client may find himself or herself in a straight-jacket and in great discomfort.
A solution was proposed in the context of a project in Latin America where it was decided to provide training to micro-enterprises in the consultancy mode. Training was to be designed "anew" in each case to fit in with the special needs of each micro enterprise. The instructional modules and materials produced were to be saved but training was never to be module-centered. Modules and materials would be unpackaged each time they were found usable, re-done to suit new but similar purposes, and then inserted in the instructional process (Bhola 1988).
The necessity of professional support
Functional literacy and workplace literacy often cannot create their own professional support systems. They need professional support from universities and other institutions of higher education to provide them with the necessary R&D backup.
Political-economy analysis of larger systems: the frame factors
To effectively take care of the sources of our discontent in education and training for work, we require more than a simple technical fix, presumably a more integrated curricular model or perhaps a more effective organizational interface leading to a better working partnerships. We need in fact to understand the larger frame factors -- the workings of the world we live in, its structures and superstructures, and the political economies of our individual nations that determine the limits of our actions and degrees of our freedoms.
A large-system analysis is needed because it is both ethically good and theoretically wise. In today's world we can not assume a "life-boat" mentality - saving our kith and kin and throwing the rest of the world overboard. It is no wonder that today large-system analysis, encompassing boundaries that encompasses the globe, is considered, by definition, ethical.
It also makes theoretical sense to undertake a large-system analysis of global scale. The globe has indeed shrunk into one global village. There is an internationalization of the development processes, of all economies, of production of goods and of the social reproduction of labor. The linkages between and among education and training for work, the new concept of work, of the new business morality, of good life, development theory and the new world order are inextricable.
To keep what is good and build anew what is needed, we must understand how the world works and how it relates to the basic challenge of the social reproduction of labor for a society using principled, professionally sound and practical ways. The situation is complex and thickly-layered, with a multiplicity of systems nested into each other.
From dependence to interdependence
One does not have to accept the dependency theory uncritically, but it would be absurd not to use the explanatory power of some of its constructs in understanding global relationships which today are defined more by dependency than by interdependency. The core and the periphery conceptualized by dependency theorists is an empirical reality - both internationally and intranationally. The rich nations (and classes) are also knowledge-rich, technologically more advanced, and politically and militarily dominant. All transactions between the core and the periphery - economic, cultural and political - are unequal transactions favoring the rich and powerful. No wonder, the gap between the world's rich and poor keeps on widening.
For the functional literacy worker, the workplace literacy professional, and the technical and vocational educator, it is important to understand existing global relationships and make responses at two levels:
(a). They must help in the emergence of a new world order of genuine interdependence among nations, and among classes within societies. Unfortunately, the phrase "The New World Order" has been coopted by presidents and prime-misters of powerful nations to mean things that suit their political agendas. Too often, the metaphor of a new world order has been used to proclaim the dominion of the powerful industrialized world over the rest of the peoples. We need to resume the discussion of political and economic relations between developed and developing countries, and among classes and social categories within nations that has remained suspended during the last decade.
(b). In the meanwhile, technical and vocational educators should not be reinforcing, nor perpetuating the existing unequal relationships of production. The following questions should be asked: Will the poor simply work in the sweat shops owned by the rich people and nations? Will the poor nations be obliged to take over the smoke-stack industries, while the rich and the powerful nations move on to the new Hi-tech areas? Will most developing countries always remain the economic satellites of developed nations? All of the above questions have important implications for work and preparation for work through technical and vocational education, workplace literacy and functional literacy programmes. The center of gravity of work and training for work should be shifted more and more towards communities and cultures where workers and producers actually live. Our abstract plans need to be concretized in lives being really lived in real settings of work.
The nature of work, the world of work
All projects of Education and Training for Work (ETW) must make assumptions about the nature of work and the world of work. For a ETW project or program to be conceptualized, designed, delivered and evaluated, there should be an envisioning and some understanding of the nature of work and the structure of the world of work in which workers after undergoing training will find jobs and perform their roles and tasks.
Work isn't what it used to be
During the times long past, work had been seen as unique to human beings. Work was a human vocation. In that sense, work was praxis, praxis was work. Work was seen as the natural striving of the human spirit and the moral obligation of the human being. The need to work first appears as the child's play and then transforms itself into obligations that are both productive and reproductive. To do one's live's work is to do one's Dharma - the duty to self; to others in the family, community, and society; to the earth and all its inhabitants. Gandhi saw work in some such terms. In a similar vein, work is praxis and thereby in Paulo Freire's terms a human vocation.
The transformation of work in the global village
The nature of work and the world of work has been transformed beyond belief along two processes:
1. the institutionalization of work, and
2. the technologization of work.
(1). The institutionalization of work
The most significant and the most deeply transformational thing that has happened to human work in the 20th century is the institutionalization of work. Ivan Illich in his book Deschooling Society analyzed with brilliance and passion the consequences of the institutionalization of education resulting in the negation of the right of the individual to self education, the control of the educational process by an educational bureaucracy which delivers education in measured doses of commodotized knowledge in a pre-established pyramidical hierarchy, and in the process reducing education to mere schooling. Illich later returned to the same theme of institutionalization, this time in health care area, and found the same consequences from its institutionalization: divesture from the individual, the individual right to heal oneself, the control of the sick by a bureaucracy of nurses, doctors and pharmacists, and ultimately the tragi-comedy of equating healing with hospitalization.
The institutionalization of work has rendered all work outside the institutional structures of the government and the civic society as nonwork -- leisure, or at worse idleness. On the other hand, it is possible to be employed as a worker in an institution and do no work. In terms of a gender analysis, women's work - of birthing, nurturing, raising a family and running a household - was rendered not work. Under colonialism, in South Africa, householders in the rural areas, busy day and night in raising families, growing food, and tending cattle were declared idle so that they could then be forcibly taken to the white man's farms, mines or factories and do "real" work.
With the emergence of the global economy and the concomitant birth of multinationals, there has come about a global institutional network that creates, controls and distributes work around the globe, sometimes directly and visibly and sometimes with the sleigh of the invisible hand. There is emerging a distribution of industrial and agro-industrial labor among the nations: smoke-stack industries versus Hi-Tech, heavy industry versus light manufacturing and assembly, hardware versus software, basic research versus applied research.
In most societies, it seems that the business culture accepts no social obligation anymore. Profit is the only motive. Profiteering is even better! Indeed, business has become a predator that feast on the others and on their own. The problems are structural. Managers take multi-million dollar bonuses while they down-size and lay off workers who could have easily been working. There is more black money in circulation than white money. The distribution of work is rooted in race, gender and class. Work of governance, intellectual work, and manual work is assigned by ascription, not according to trained capacity or achievement.
There is not enough institutionalized work to go around for everyone. Indeed the number of workplaces are decreasing with the advancement of technology. And yet, people want not just work but institutionalized work - a job with a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly paycheck. Everything else is inadequate. This has created service jobs, with no benefits and with no future. There is crass exploitation of the worker, including exploitation of working children in millions -- robbed of their childhood, too many of them dying from malnourishment, exhaustion and overwork. On the other hand, self-employment and small businesses are encouraged. A select few are being taught entrepreneurship and management. They are being encouraged to not merely hold jobs but to create them. However, all of this work often is parasitical to the work of larger enterprises of institutionalized work. Families do not accommodate. Adverts beckon. The unemployed create "illicit work" - prostitution, drug pushing, purse snatching, mugging, robbery, car-jacking, and murdering for hire.
(2). The technologization of work
An important feature of the 20th century has been the change in technology. This change is visible even to the naked eye. One does not have to be an engineer to know it, or a social analyst to tell. us about its effects on our souls and our social systems.
It is common knowledge that the rich nations are also knowledge rich. They are able to afford high levels of R&D expenditures for their producers and manufacturers. But while there is tremendous knowledge capital in the advanced world, the poor cannot use knowledge because knowledge has become commoditized through laws of copyrights and patents. At the same time, a division of labor of production has emerged between the developed and the underdeveloped nations wherein the environmentally-clean Hi-Tech industries now belong to the rich and the smoke-stacks industries are moving to the poor areas of the world.
The overlap between jobs held by males and females is a good development but distortions in technological research and dissemination have put women to disadvantage. Technology has brought other contradictions and ambivalences. Technology has transformed the world of work. But since Western technology is capital intensive, when imported by the developing countries, it has idled labor and brought unemployment. Again, intermediate technology that would increase productivity without reducing workers is needed, but the developing world is unable to support R&D for intermediate technology and the developed world is not interested and unwilling to allocate resources. The peace dividend expected from the change from the war and the cold-war economies to new peace economies has not materialized. Something happened to the peace dividend on the way!
Literacy, technology, and work
On the eve of the twenty-first century, in the developed and in the developing world, literacy, technology and work have come to be triangulated, each with the other. Earlier in the twentieth century, work was possible without the use of highly sophisticated technology, and to utilize the technology embedded in life at home and in work outside home did not require literacy. The last part of the twentieth century, however, is already a culture of print and Hi-Tech. During the new century, just five years away, literacy, technology and work will become an integrated triangle with triple dialectics, each impossible without the other in the set.
A new concept of development: prosperity and peace
The two most recent human disasters of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda prove, if proof was needed, of the absolute necessity of joining economic prosperity with peace, in all new models of development. If peace is not assured, prosperity may be difficult to bring about and certainly impossible to be enjoyed should it come about through some strange set of circumstances. This will require redefining good life, basic needs and work. It will have to make room for cooperation, tolerance, and spiritual sustenance. The new development model must teach us ethics of whole systems that can encompass the globe and all of humanity; new concepts of good life; ethics of frugality; and new concepts of work.
At the institutional levels within societies, we will have to seek democratic organizations where decisions are collectively made. In the case of business organizations, there will have to be economic democracy. Businesses will have to reconceptualize their social role, putting profit motive in a proper perspective - and ensure that the top brass does not give themselves millions in bonuses while poor workers are laid off.
In learning groups we will have to learn new ways of cooperating and not always competing. The curricula of ETW should reflect brand new vocations never imagined before. These new vocations will cover, among other things, self-production of basic food for survival and food supplements for the family in a world where population is outpacing food supply. All over the world and particularly in the developing world, all families, without exception, should grow some food around the house and produce other food supplements through chicken farming, goat keeping, etc. Other new vocations may include community tree planting, recycling, pollution control, water and air management, youth club supervisions, conflict management extension, arbitrations and mentoring.
The ideal worker does not have to be a mere cog in the machine. He or she has to be engaged in both productivity and praxis. The ideal worker, therefore, has to have both technical efficiencies and social sensibilities.
Professionals in technical and vocational education, functional literacy and workplace literacy can not play God and with a magic wand change the world and its realities. They can not by themselves transform the world to bring about peace and prosperity rooted in moral ways of experiencing power, human solidarity to include all humanity, ethics of frugality, sane conceptions of the good life, sustainable processes of development, new concepts of fulfilling work, and equitable rewards for work and good works. Technical and vocational education is failing often because solutions are not merely educational and therefore are not amenable to technical and vocational education and training. Technical and vocational education can not create jobs or ensure fair hiring practices. They can help only where technical and vocational education and training is inadequate or incompetent or where interfaces between education and training and jobs are not well designed.
Yet, policy makers and practitioners must learn to be self-conscious of the assumptions they are making about the nature of work and about the world of work as they conceptualize, design, deliver and evaluate projects of education and training for work (ETW). Then, they must find elasticities of change in the situations they face and in each case conduct a calculus of means and ends that is principled, professional and practical. There are considerable degrees of freedom available to professionals in functional literacy, workplace literacy and technical and vocational education that lie within their professional domain. These should be briefly listed and discussed below by way of concluding this policy analysis:
1. The ETW professionals should rise above the separate and specific categories of functional literacy, workplace literacy and technical and vocational education and should work with the synoptic category of reproduction of labor for the society in the context of a society's sense of its future.
2. There should be a deliberate and systematic coming together of the professionals in the three areas of functional literacy, workplace literacy and technical and vocational education working in the various UN affiliated agencies, national governments, NGO's and other stakeholders. The International Symposium being planned by the TVE Section of Unesco may provide the forum for such coming together.
2.1 As part of this coming together, a survey should be made of functional literacy, workplace literacy and technical and vocational education projects around the world for use in the design of policies and program strategies.
2.2 At all the various levels of policy development, planning and implementation - for example, regional, national, institutional and institutional - Unesco should enable the coming together of professionals from the three sectors, so that they can understand the ideologies and technologies of these three mutually congenial sectors to support and abet each others work, to pool and multiply material and political resources, and to plan, implement and evaluate joint projects in the advancement of common purposes.
3. Patterns should be established whereby planning teams in any one of the three sectors draw professionals from each of the three sectors.
3.1. Workshops should be held to design general patters of project development located in any of the three sectors but able to serve fully well the purposes of both literacy and functionality.
The moment is waiting to be seized.