Have you ever wondered – what is adult basic education exactly? Skillsportal defines it as the following: “Adult basic education and training is the general conceptual foundation towards lifelong learning and development, comprising of knowledge, skills and attitudes required for social, economic and political participation and transformation applicable to a range of contexts.”
Knowledge is Power
The world has changed so much and with blended education a part of the new normal – where evolving technology meets a data driven world, educational focus has definitely shifted. The shift aligns itself to a more STEM-based approach (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). This approach has been said to prepare students for careers of the future.
Does this fall into the framework of what is basic adult education? The simple answer is yes, and no. Life skills need to be taught at every core level of learning to ensure students are well equipped to make good decisions and solve practical problems in their academic and professional careers as well as their own personal lives.
According to Macmillan Education, “In a constantly changing environment, having life skills is an essential part of being able to meet the challenges of everyday life. The dramatic changes in global economies over the past five years have been matched with the transformation in technology and these are all impacting on education, the workplace, and our home life.”
Life Skills for Adults
The following basic example of an everyday life skill shows how we are perpetually recreating educated individuals that have no skill or trade – leaving school with a stored wealth of literal knowledge that is practically useless.
Why don’t we teach students how to file tax returns in school? This is another example of a crucial gap in the education system that deals with real world issues, where school-leavers must learn on the go. It’s an accepted norm/tradition that is carried over and it is like any other failing ecosystem in life – once it is off balance, and the negative impact outweighs the advantages of the system the balance will shift, and the system will eventually collapse on itself.
Educators have seen this gap and recognized it – yet somehow educational departments and institutions the world over see no need to teach these essential skills and bridge learning gaps to produce holistic scholars. This would allow students to leave school with working knowledge – rather than an encyclopaedia stored in the mind but must defragment itself every time we need to use that information and apply it in the real world.
Masicorp is one of many charities supporting education in Cape Town and our holistic approach – with quality education and skills development initiatives break the barriers to access equal opportunities and is a solution to the question – what is adult basic education exactly?
People from disadvantaged communities like Masiphumelele do not get access to the same type of education that you would find in more affluent suburbs. This is exactly why we must do even better – going above and beyond the core of education to help people engage in all angles of life to secure a route out from poverty. Have a look at our life skills programmes that are shaping a new future for people from Masiphumelele below.
Evangeline Life Skills Programme
Masicorp works in partnership with Evangeline Ministries, providing a free ‘Life Skills’ course for men and women with little or no previous education. The course takes six months and teaches students basic English, computer and sewing skills. All these topics are highly relevant to the people’s everyday lives and the course helps them gain self-confidence and a pride in their own work.
The course participants are tutored to improve their English language skills and learn basic computing skills. There are twelve participants in each six-monthly intake.
On successful completion of the course each participant receives a free sewing machine hence there is a real incentive to keep attending and complete the course.
Graduates have gone on to start their own sewing businesses, while others have gained the skills and confidence needed to apply for jobs and secure gainful employment as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty for them and their families.
Masicorp’s International Computer Driver’s Licence Course
Last year, we achieved our dream of having our very own ICDL centre on Chasmay Campus. This Internationally accredited course helps people from Masi who have no prior computer skills gain self-confidence by allowing them to create their own C. V’s and navigate the internet so they may apply for jobs.
This may seem like a mundane task, but for people that have never even turned on a computer – they gain a great deal of confidence – especially when entering the workplace, and then having to use computers proficiently. Many of the ICDL graduates have gone on to find employment thanks to the skills and confidence they have acquired.
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