AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Experiences and perceptions of adult learners at public adult learning centres

by Siphiwe Nonhlanhla Dladla

Institution: University of Pretoria
Year: 2014
Keywords: Adult Education; Adult Basic Education and Training; Adult learners; Adult Centres; Public Adult Learning Centres; UCTD
Record ID: 1430157
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2263/40439


The main objective of this research was to explore the experiences and perceptions of adult learners at Public Adult Learning Centres. A total number of eighteen adult learners from three Public Adult Learning Centres in Nkomazi East Circuit at Ehlanzeni District participated in the study. The study was qualitative in nature using the interpretive paradigm. Data was collected through focus group interviews, individual interviews and observation. The study revealed that adult learners have mixed feelings and opinions regarding their experiences at Public Adult Learning Centres. Results indicated that some adults found their experiences interesting and enriching and have positive attitudes towards the teaching and learning at Public Adult Learning Centres, while others were frustrated with the lack of teaching and learning resources, and the poor management at the centres. Adult learners seem to regard education as important and they received satisfactory support from their families, communities, teachers, employers, and fellow adult learners, as well as financial support from the Department of Education. Findings revealed that adult learners find it difficult to understand the content of subjects and to cope with the pace of teaching. Participants had different views about the language of instruction. Some preferred English for employment and social purposes while others preferred the vernacular so as to have a better understanding of the content and to pass the subjects. These learners preferred that the content should prepare them for employment and for coping with day-to-day activities in rural areas. Responsibilities at home, becoming a learner at an elderly age, being involved in seasonal jobs and catching up work after absence were some of the challenges that adult learners experienced. From the results and findings of the study, recommendations were made to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning and functionality of Public Adult Learning Centres.