It is extremely difficult for the educated person to imagine how limited one’s prospects are, when reading, reasoning, adding, writing and problem-solving actually is the barrier to opportunity. Only when one visits a country such as Greece, where the alphabet is completely different and a simple word such as “pharmacy” is Фαpmαkeio, catching a bus is AθHΝΑ does one begin to realise the challenge. By the time one has made out what “bus” is, it has already left its station. An adult who has limited knowledge and understanding of a language and numeracy, cannot “catch the bus” either. It’s challenging to make progress until such time as his communicative and numerical abilities reach a functional level. Adults have to use ABET as a vehicle of transformation.
ABET provides a platform for adult learners who have limited language and problem-solving ability and enables them to engage with words and numbers/problems at a new level so that they are able to use ABET as a vehicle of transformation and seize opportunities that they encounter as a result. A learner, who starts at ABET Level 1, and who learns thoroughly and actively through these levels, will reach NQF 1 with a broader knowledge and understanding to launch himself/herself into further education and training.
Using ABET as the vehicle of transformation means that he/she learns to understand and apply:
- Interpretable symbols that become words, then sentences, then paragraphs and finally a coherent text
- Reading skills that enable the absorption of language and ultimately comprehension
- Writing skills that require a vast amount of cognitive thinking skills to combine words, grammatical structures and thoughts into an intelligible format
- Counting skills and patterns that become the basis for solving complex problems.
In short, ABET should be an enabling vehicle of transformation for the learner. A best practice model would ensure that:
- The organisation knows and understands its role in its particular industry and what knowledge and skills are required by the different workers.
- This would result in the workplace identifying the most appropriate learnerships and further training that can be accessed to add value to education, training and development of skills and knowledge in the workplace.
- These learnerships should then be analysed so that the core fundamental skills required are extracted and identified in the band/s below the targeted level i.e. if the learner is required to interpret technical drawings at NQF 2, he would need to be able to interpret scale, measure and work with geometric patterns and principles at NQF 1.
- The learners’ points of view are considered – find out which knowledge and skills are important to them from a social and economic perspective. What are their needs, aspirations and current obstructions? This will transform ABET into an investment, rather than an expense.
- Through this analysis, the ABET need can then be clearly identified, delivered and measured. Both employees and workplaces will then experience the true benefit and relationship between ABET, skills development and lifelong learning.
The benefits of a carefully thought-out process are phenomenal and not confined to skills development alone. It is accompanied by commitment, respect, loyalty, motivation and concern for the workplace, management and colleagues. Providing ABET that is a vehicle rather than a barrier, will truly transform a company.