The aim of this paper is to discuss needs assessment in adult education and give examples. Thus, the paper will begin with definitions of needs and workers education. A discussion of the needs and methods used to assess needs will be given along with examples. A conclusion will then lead to the end of the discussion.
According to Krueger (1988), a need is the difference between what a person has and what they want. Soriano (1995), further defined a needs assessment as “a systematic set of procedures undertaken for the purpose of setting priorities and making decisions about program or organizational improvement and allocation of resources.” For the most part, the concept of needs assessment makes sense.
On the other hand, workers’ education, as commonly used, is not a generic term but has a specific connotation. “It is a special kind of adult education designed to give workers a better understanding for their status, problem, rights and responsibilities as workers, as union members, as consumers and as citizens”.
As observed by Morgan (1993), “Workers’ education and trade union are synonymous, since the chief aim of workers’, education is to equip the trade unions to take a more active interest in the movement.” But trade union education is narrower in scope in as much as it only confines itself in training workers to become good members of trade union whereas the workers’ education besides providing the workers the training in trade unions also aims at social and fundamental education as that is given with view to making a worker a good citizen as well as a good member of the trade union. According to the Encyclopedia of Social sciences, “Workers’ Education” seeks to help the worker solve his problems not as an individual but as a member of his social class.
As a whole, workers’ education has to take into consideration the educational needs of the worker as an individual for his personal evolution; as an operative for his efficiency and advancement; as a citizen, for a happy and integrated life in the community; as a member of a trade union, for the protection of his interests as a member of the working class.”. “It is , therefore, to bridge the lacuna by illiteracy, to create better understanding of work and one’s own place in national economy, to prepare workers for effective collaboration with the management, to make him a better citizen, to create leadership among the ranks of labour, to replace outsiders in trade unions and ultimately to make them conscious of their rights and responsibilities that worker’s education aims at” (Altschuld and Witkin, 2000).
Professionals with business insight immediately realize the value of a needs assessment in being efficient. The question that arises in the mind of the reader however, focuses on how this type of assessment can be carried out and if it’s really necessary. Most individuals seem sure about what they need. If this is the case, a business can simply ask their employees or customers what they need and get right to the problem. The business case for a formal needs assessment lies in realizing that people do not always agree as to what a group needs. Formalized needs assessment can gather accurate data from a wide population that can lead to “action, change, and improvement” (………………………….).
The business case for needs assessments in an organisation is becoming clearer as companies gradually realize the cost savings that they provide. Need assessments are not just used for improving the staff performance anymore. This is especially true with the constant reorganizations, restructuring and “right sizing” going on within organizations. Some companies, such as Banks, are using needs assessments in the selection process. Banks use “targeted selection”, a process developed by international organisations.
Targeted selection involves identifying the competencies needed to perform at a high level for each position the company recruits for....