Adult Education for Women Empowerment

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  • Topic: Botswana, Africa, HIV
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Empowering Women in South Africa to Serve as Catalysts Using Adult Education in Reducing Transmission of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Patricia D. Bailey
Capella University
There is a high rate of illiteracy in South Africa with over 4.5 million adults that has never attended school and approximately 5 million who are functionally illiterate. (Aitchison, 2004). Studies have found that disparities based on ethnicity, sex and status is a direct link to illiteracy in South Africa. Adult education is a means to an end. It is one of the means of contributing to reduction of the Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDs) in South Africa. This paper will discuss how adult education can help empowerment women in southern African countries in reducing transmission of HIV/AIDs. The countries that will be discussed are Botswana and Lesotho.

Empowering Women in South Africa to Serve as Catalysts Using Adult Education in Reducing the Transmission of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Description of the Setting

Traditionally, African education has passed from generation to generation by word of mouth and cultural rituals. This form of education has been used as the basis for sustainable development in agriculture, food preparation and as a way of acquiring lifelong learning (Omolewa, 2007). In the context of South Africa, there are a variety of definitions for literacy. The term may be defined in relation to its economic, psychological and social transformation of individuals involved. Botswana and Lesotho has recognized the importance of adult education in enabling the population to acquire social, practical, civic and political skills. Basic literacy in these countries has been defined as the ability to read and write and carry out simple human thinking and informational processing in everyday life (Aitchison, 1999; Maruatona, 2006,).

Through the years, adult education in South Africa has been being excluded from meaningful participation in the social, cultural, political and economic activities of society. Illiteracy is one the major social issues affecting political and economic forces of South Africa. The political issue of was shaped by the ruling political class whose power was deep rooted in the economic structure of apartheid capitalism (Aitchison, 2004). This was because of the rapid expansion in industrialization and modernization of the late 1970s which required better-trained and productive labor force. The main emphasis was placed on skilled labor and semi-skilled work. Adult literacy became a requirement for the labor market to function efficiently. However, the government failed to launch a literacy program that would serve as a prerequisite for the rapid economic growth. The government responded by focusing attention on the education of the smaller urban population in the form of night schools. The government’s limited commitment to adult literacy and the emphasis on training “were ideological measures to preserve the status quo, therefore ensuring the reproduction of a majority illiterate black working class as an important component of apartheid capitalism” (Aitchison, 1999, p.120) Historical and political factors that have influenced the nature of adult education in both Botswana and Lesotho are the lack of resources made available and the lack of coordinated systematic planning (Merriam, Courtenay, & Cervero, 2006). Although there have been numerous official statements on adult education and literacy by the government, there has been no consistent and coordinated policy of adult education and literacy (Mulenga, 2000 as cited in Aitchison, 2004). Social and cultural factors that have influenced the nature of adult education include gender inequality. Poverty, HIV/AIDS and educational...
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