University of Zambia lecturer's understanding of the Meaning of Adult education and their perception of its relevance in development

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Chirwa, Lemekani
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The background to this study had its genesis from the University of Zambia lecturers’ understanding of the meaning of adult education and their perception of its relevance in development. In recent years, there has been a greater need for education for all (EFA) not only for youth and those that attend formal education but adults included. Further, in 2000, the United Nations set eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which is an agenda for improving the human condition by 2015. To achieve MDG a country will need political, socio-economic, appropriate and relevant type of education like adult education to liberate and empower people. The 5th MDG deals with education. Among those, target “… aims at providing education for all”. It was in line with this goal and great need for education for all that this study was designed to investigate how knowledgeable the academicians and professionals at the University of Zambia understood the concept of adult education and their perception or attitudes of its relevance in development. The study addressed itself to three major questions. These were: (a) Do the lecturers’ at University of Zambia understand the meaning of Adult Education? (b) What is the lecturers’ perception or attitudes at the University of Zambia of Adult Education? (c) What are the University of Zambia lecturers’ views of the relevance of Adult Education in development? The mixed design of qualitative and quantitative was adopted. The qualitative methods used face-to-face interview with an open-ended interview guide instrument directed to management officials. Quantitative methodology relied on the use of questionnaires administered to lecturers randomly selected in the 9 schools. Quantitative data collected was analyzed using frequency distribution tables and percentages and boxes. While qualitative data from interviews and physical field observations was analyzed qualitatively by grouping similar themes using constant comparative techniques. Tables were used in the presentation of data after analysis. The initial targeted sample size was 127 respondents but it reduced to 111 respondents.The main findings of the study were that it is evident that all the lecturers were knowledgeable about the concept of adult education but find the meaning to be confusing. The study further revealed that lecturers have a positive attitude and perception of adult education. The study, however, discovered that although understanding of the meaning of adult education is confusing, the majority of the lecturers appreciate the role it plays in human resource development, empowerment, poverty reduction and economic development. The study was mainly guided by critical theory and transformational learning theory. The main conclusion of the study was that adult education can effectively assist to improve the livelihood of the people and economy of the country and bring about development if utilized by adult educators and other community development agents such as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOS), Faith Based Organisations (FBOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs), and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) not forgetting the formal learning institutions. In view of the findings, the study therefore, recommends that adult educators, educationists, professionals, academicians in general and policy-makers consider institutionalizing of adult education on equal footing as formal education to help achieve education for all in our country as this would incorporate equally all categories of people. The study further suggests that future researches to cover a diverse category of target population such as the general public, private and government secondary schools as well as higher institutions of learning to have a wider perspective about the concept.
Adult education--study and teaching--Zambia