Accredited training provider’s adult basic education and training or “ABET” helps address rising levels of inequality

triple-e-training-abet-helps-address-rising-levels-of-inequality-woman-working-on-pc-board

Adult basic education and training or “ABET” remains one of the many tools that can be used to fight rising inequality. Structured and formal adult literacy training and adult numeracy training are available from a leading accredited training provider to help people complete their education and improve their circumstances. This workplace training for low skilled employees and community training for unemployed people help bring about important socio-economic change. Considering the critical role that adult education and training or “AET”plays as a driver of transformation, adult literacy training and adult numeracy training also contribute towards the broad-based black economic empowerment or “B-BBEE” scorecard.

Quality adult basic education and training or “ABET”remains an important means of addressing high levels of inequality in the country. This is by providing low skilled employees with an opportunity to complete their education and gain important basic skills that will help them to develop and improve their livelihoods. Many low skilled employees who have completed adult literacy training and adult numeracy training also study further. They will, for example, complete foundational learning competence or “FLC” training as an important step after adult basic education and training or “ABET”.

Foundational learning competence or “FLC” prepares low skilled employees for vocational training, such as apprenticeships. Before completing foundational learning competence or “FLC” training, low skilled employees lacked the basic English literacy and numeracy skills that they needed to enrol for vocational training. They were, therefore, denied an opportunity to further themselves, despite being proficient in their jobs and there being a significant shortage of skilled apprentices in the country. Instilling a passion for learning among low skilled employees is the ultimate objective of structured and formal adult literacy training and adult numeracy training.

Adult education and training or “AET”. This includes both workplace training for low skilled employees and community training for unemployed people. Only accredited training providers are permitted to supply adult literacy training and adult numeracy training on behalf of companies. This contributes towards their broad-based black economic empowerment or “B-BBEE” scorecards for the role that adult literacy training and adult numeracy training play in transformation.
School grade Adult education and training or “AET” levelNational Qualifications Framework level
31
52
73
941
102
113
12 (Matric)4

Adult education and training or “AET” – a driver of transformation in South Africa

Tripartite Alliance backs adult literacy training and adult numeracy training

The important role that adult basic education and training or “ABET” plays as a critical driver of transformation has long been acknowledged by government, the private sector and labour unions. Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training, therefore, contribute as much as 5% towards companies’ broad-based blackeconomic empowerment or “B-BBEE” scorecards.

This is in addition to the proven role that adult basic education and training or “ABET” plays by significantly improving productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Companies are, thus, incentivised to invest in quality adult basic education and training or “ABET” to improve the livelihoods of their low skilled employees.

However, responsible companies do not merely train to meet their broad-based black economic empowerment or “B-BBEE” scorecard requirements. They know that it is their responsibility to invest in constantly improving the skills of their employees through quality workplace training. This is so that their low skilled employs are able to grow and develop their careers, as well as compete in the job market.

This is especially relevant in an economy that is evolving at a rapid pace and becoming increasingly reliant on sophisticated skills to compete at a global level. At the most basic level, employees need English literacy and numeracy skills to perform at optimal levels. These corporate citizens are also aware of the positive impact that their community training for unemployed people continues to have on the lives of many South African citizens by imparting critical English literacy and maths skills.

Adult education and training or “AET” to bridge the growing divide between rich and poor

Basic English literacy training and basic numeracy training for transformation

Despite the advent of democracy in 1994, South Africa’s economy remains one of the most unequal in the world. The country’s Gini coefficient was about 0,69 in 2014 – a lasting legacy of a previous system that denied certain races access to quality education, employment and remuneration.


While a moderately progressive tax system and a social safety net have helped somewhat in addressing inequality, the country’s high debt levels have now started hampering government’s ability to use fiscal policy as a tool for redistribution. Some of the methods used by government to fight inequality include higher social spending and targeted government transfers. This is in addition to affirmative action and broad-based black economic empowerment or “B-BBEE” to diversify wealth ownership and promote entrepreneurship among previously marginalised South African citizens. 

Adult basic education and training or “ABET” is listed under the “Socio-Economic Development” category of the broad-based black economic empowerment or “B-BBEE” scorecard. Certainly, the broad-based black economic empowerment or “B-BBEE” scorecard also considers community training for unemployed citizens of the country, especially those who reside in the rural areas where illiteracy and innumeracy are rife. Participants in these community training programmes also take their English literacy and maths skills back to their communities. This broadens the positive socio-economic impact of these community training programmes.

Share of South Africans living in poverty

Race2006200920112015
Black African60%55%45%48%
Coloured35%30%20%25%
Indian/Asian5%4%3%2%
White1%2%1%1%
[Source:] Statistics South Africa

Community training for the unemployed provides English literacy and maths skills

Adult education and training or “AET” for the country’s illiterate and innumerate citizens

Inequality and poverty are also being fuelled by rampant unemployment which has increased significantly during the worldwide outbreak of the Covid-19 virus. Measures implemented to contain the spread of the virus in the country by significantly restricting the movement and gathering of people has had a profound negative impact on an economy that was already struggling before the hard lockdown was implemented by government.This is mirrored by the country’s current unemployment rate which is said to be among the highest in the world. Unemployment rose to 34,4% in the second quarter of 2021 from 32,6% in the first three months through to March 2021.Many experts believe that the full impacts of the measures implemented to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus will be felt for many years to come.

However, the unemployment rate has been increasing steadily since 2008 when it was 21,5% following a peak of 31,5% in 2003.Among the worst affected are young adults and indigenous South African women. The unemployment rate for South Africans aged between 15 and 24 is more than double of that of citizens between the ages of 25 and 65. These South Africans are also not in education and any type of formal and structured training, including adult literacy training and adult numeracy training, further undermining poverty and inequality eradication programmes.

This is where community training programmes for the unemployed will continue playing a vital role in helping to address growing inequality.

Workplace training and community training uplifts South African citizens

Adult education and training or “AET” improves lives

The mining industry in particular has been a staunch proponent of adult basic education and training. Mining houses invest in both workplace training for their low skilled employees and community training. These adult education and training or “AET” programmes are one of the many commitments mining companies make in their Social Labour Plans or “SLPs”. Their investment into adult literacy training and adult numeracy training also contributes to the broad-based economic empowerment or “B-BBEE” scorecard. 

Notably, these programmes are also geared at raising the English literacy and numeracy skills of women in both the workplace and in poor areas of the country. Illiteracy is particularly high among rural women who have not had the opportunity to complete their basic education for various reasons. 

Gender inequality in general remains a concern in the country, with women consistently performing worse than men in many areas other than just literacy. For example, women without an education earn 54% of the income earned by their male counterparts. Meanwhile, those women with a high-school education earn 68% of the income of their male equivalents. Women with a tertiary education receive 63% of the income similarly qualified males bring home.

This is another area of inequality that adult basic education and training or “ABET” strives to address via workplace training and community training programmes. In this way, adult literacy training and adult numeracy training empowers low skilled women employees in the workplace and unemployed women in poor areas.

Labour market rates by age group

AgeUnemployment rateAbsorption rateParticipation rate
55 to 64 years13,1%36,7%42,2%
45 to 54 years20%58,2%72,7%
35 to 44 years27%56,7%77,8%
25 to 35 years41,3%41%69,9%
15 to 24 years63,3%7,6%20,6%
[Source:] Statistics South Africa
triple-e-training-abet-helps-address-rising-levels-of-inequality-working-women-in-uniform
Gender inequality at work
• Women earn 70% of men’s monthly income
• Unemployment among women is 3,9% more than that of men
• 53,6% of women participate in the labour market compared to 66,1% of men
• The literacy levels of women are 1,3% less than that of men

Disparity in access to resources

GenderAsset ownershipAccess to waterAccess to improved sanitation
Women 8,9%70,3%81,2%
Men10,4%77%83,3%
SA total9,8%74,2%82,5%

Adult education and training or “AET” provides access to education for all citizens

Adult English literacy training and maths training for a sophisticated

Inequality also manifests in education. Considering the large divide between rich and poor in the country, many young South Africans also still do not have the opportunity to acquire the same skills or education levels as other citizens. Only a small portion of young adults enter the labour force with the same high levels of secondary and tertiary education.

The share of South African citizens with primary education declined from 34% in 2000 to 14% in 2017. Meanwhile, the number of South Africans who had not completed their secondary education rose by about three percentage points during this period. The portion of South Africans who completed 12 years of education increased from 19% in 2000 to 31% in 2017. At the same time, the percentage of individuals who completed tertiary education grew from 12% in 2000 to 18% in 2017.

This is another sound example of how the “inequality trap” works and how adult basic education and training or “ABET” can help pull people out of poverty.

The percentage of students from selected countries who achieved a low international benchmark in reading in 2016

CountryPercentage
Finland99%
United States98%
Canada98%
Australia97%
Chile 80%
Iran60%
Saudi Arabia59%
Oman55%
Morocco30%
Egypt28%
South Africa23%
[Source:] Progress in International Reading Literacy Study

Adult education and training or “AET” for employee development

Adult English literacy training and adult numeracy training for better livelihoods

triple-e-training-abet-helps-address-rising-levels-of-inequality-man-working-on-server
Certainly, inequality is also revealed in the highly skewed distribution of income between citizens of the country. Despite the change in government in 1994, the top 20% of the population still holds more than 68% of total income. This is compared to an average of 47% for similar emerging markets. Meanwhile, the bottom 40% of the population holds 7% of income compared to 16% for other emerging markets.

Adult basic education and training or “ABET” is a critical means of helping low-skilled employees gain the skills they need to accept more responsibility in the workplace so that they can improve their earning potential.

Meanwhile, community training programmes, including instruction in basic maths and English literacy, help unemployed people gain the skills they need to participate in a modern economy. 

Companies choose to partner Triple E Training, an accredited training provider,for their adult education and training or “AET” and foundational learning competence or “FLC”requirements.

The accredited training provider has more than 30 years of experience supplying cutting edge adult education and training or “AET” and foundational learning competence or “FLC” to industry. Triple E Training specialises in both workplace training and community training programmes which have contributed towards their broad-based black economic empowerment or “B-BBEE” scorecards.
Learn more about Triple E Training and our quality workplace training and community training programmes for industry. www.eee.co.za.

Changing Lives Together