Private sector remains an important driver of ABET in poor communities

triple-e-training-private-sector-remains-an-important-driver-of-abet-in-poor-communities-stacked-blocks
The private sector continues to demonstrate that quality adult basic education and training or “ABET” can have a large positive impact on poor communities if undertaken correctly. This is considering the high correlation between poverty and illiteracy. Equipping people with English literacy and maths skills improves their chances of securing employment in a modern economy. Moreover, English literacy and basic maths skills are used in just about every facet of life outside the workplace, while these proficiencies also enable people to make a positive contribution to their communities and South African society at large. Importantly, the substantial effort made by companies to improve the English literacy and basic maths skills of poor communities by providing quality adult literacy training and adult numeracy training relieves some of the burden on already heavily strained government adult basic education and training or “ABET” systems.

Among the industries that continue to invest heavily in uplifting communities through quality adult literacy training and adult numeracy training is mining and its preferred accredited training provider has remained Triple E Training for more than 30 years. This is considering the high quality  of the company’s adult education and training or “AET”. Meanwhile, companies in other industries are also harnessing the accredited training provider’s skills and experience to help develop the English literacy and basic maths skills of communities as part of their corporate-social investment or “CSI” initiatives.

ADULT LITERACY TRAINING

High impact adult education and training or “AET” for community upliftment

The private sector is helping the government to break the back of illiteracy in the country. This is by providing quality adult basic education and training or “ABET” that is geared specifically at poor communities where illiteracy and innumeracy levels are notoriously high. The South African mining industry continues to lead in community adult numeracy training and adult literacy training and its efforts are helping to relieve some of the burden on limited state resources that have been directed specifically at attending to a dire lack of basic maths and English literacy skills in the country. One of the industry’s partners is Triple E Training, an accredited training provider with more than 30 years of experience helping employees and members of poor communities acquire English literacy and basic math skills. The company also has a sound understanding of the social labour planning process that guides human resource development in the mining industry.

Mines are awarded mining rights based on the strength of their social labour plans or “SLPs”. They have to ensure that they fulfil their commitments enshrined in these social labour plans or “SLPs”, which includes equipping unemployed members of these communities with basic maths and English literacy skills, to retain their mining rights. The accredited training provider also has a large national footprint which enables the company to adequately service the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training needs of the mining industry. This is considering that many mines and quarries are based in outlying areas of the country. Moreover, the accredited training provider’s educators are very experienced working with members of rural communities to maximise the impact of the adult basic education and training or “ABET”. Certainly, these capabilities of the accredited training provider are also being harnessed by companies in other industries to help raise the English literacy and basic math skills of communities as part of their corporate social investment initiatives.

Self-perceived poverty by highest educational attainment of the household head in 2019

Household heads that achieved higher levels of educational attainment were less likely to perceive themselves as poor

Post school education5,9%
National Senior Certificate17,7%
Upper secondary education31,1%
Lower secondary education37,1%
Completed primary education38,6%
Some primary education40,2%
No schooling43,2%
[Source:] Statistics South Africa

PROPORTION OF ADULTS LIVING IN POVERTY PER PROVINCE

South Africa49,2%
Limpopo67,5%
Eastern Cape67,3%
KwaZulu-Natal60,7%
North West59,6%
Mpumalanga54,6%
Northern Cape54,3%
Free State48,9%
Western Cape33,2%
Gauteng29,3%
[Source:] Statistics South Africa

ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “ABET”

Quality adult literacy training and adult numeracy training

In this way, the private sector is addressing the many limitations of state-driven adult basic education and training or “ABET” programmes and demonstrating that, if undertaken correctly, adult literacy training and adult numeracy training can have far-reaching positive benefits.  The accredited training provider’s adult literacy training and adult numeracy training classes are well attended by individuals who have been selected by companies to participate in these community upliftment projects. This is because its clients have received community buy-in ahead of launching their adult basic education and training or “ABET”. They have consulted with the community and its leaders to determine their exact needs and are, therefore, not just training for the sake of it. This approach also helps to determine who exactly from the affected community should participate in the adult education and training or “AET”.

The accredited training provider’s placement assessments help in this regard by determining the extent of the participants’ English literacy and basic maths literacy skills deficiencies and the exact interventions that are required to address them. These placement assessments also take into consideration participants’ previous educational experience to ensure that they do not regress in their learning journey and are being given a sound opportunity to acquire the English literacy and basic maths skills that they need to improve most aspects of their lives. By placing participants at the correct adult education and training or “AET” level, the accredited training provider is also able to ensure a higher pass rate.

This is because learners are able to cope with the English literacy and basic maths lessons by seamlessly transitioning into the next phase of their learning journey. Importantly, learners understand why they have been selected to participate in English literacy and basic maths instruction and how the adult education and training or “AET” will benefit their lives because this has been efficiently communicated to them by companies.

KEY POVERTY INDICATORS

PovertyNumber of poor [million]Rate [%]Period
National Poverty Line30.355.52014
International Poverty Line 12 in South African rand (2014) or US$1.90 (2011 PPP) per day per capita10.318.92014
Lower Middle Income Class Poverty Line 20.2 in South African rand (2014) or US$3.20 (2011 PPP) per day per capita20.537.62014
Upper Middle Income Class Poverty Line 34.6 in South African rand (2014) or US$5.50 (2011 PPP) per day per capita31.157.12014
Multidimensional Poverty Measure 19.32014
Shared prosperity   
Annualised Consumption Growth per capita of the bottom 40 percent -1.342010 to 2014
Inequality   
Gini Index 63.02014
Shared Prosperity Premium = Growth of the bottom 40 – Average Growth -0.112010 to 2014
Growth   
Annualised GDP per capita growth 0.862010 to 2014
Annualised Consumption Growth per capita from Household Survey -1.232010 to 2014
Median income   
Growth of the annual median income/consumption per capita -0.922010 to 2014
[Sources:] WDI for GDP, National Statistical Offices for national poverty rates, POVCALNET as of February 2020, and Global Monitoring Database for the rest.

KEY POVERTY INDICATORS

Distribution among groups: 2014Lower middle-income line (%) Non-PoorLower middle-income line (%) PoorRelative group (%) Bottom 40Relative group (%) Top 60
Urban population   N/A
Rural population37636535
Males64363862
Females61394258
0 to 14 years old51495149
15 to 64 years old67333565
65 and older71293070
Without education (16+)40606238
Primary education (16+)48525545
Secondary education (16+)67333664
Tertiary/post-secondary education (16+)955694
[Source:] World Bank using LCS/SSAPOV/GMD

KEY POVERTY INDICATORS

Multidimensional Poverty Measures (% of people):2014
Monetary poverty (Consumption) 
Daily consumption less than US$1.90 per person18.9
Education 
At least one school-aged child is not enrolled in school1.5
No adult has completed primary education2.3
Access to basic infrastructure 
No access to limited-standard drinking water8.2
No access to limited-standard sanitation4.7
No access to electricity4.1
[Source:] World Bank using LCS/SSAPOV/GMD

ADULT LITERACY TRAINING

Structured and formal adult literacy training and adult numeracy training will make a significant difference

triple-e-training-private-sector-remains-an-important-driver-of-abet-in-poor-holding-white-paper-in-front-of-blackboard

Municipal adult education and training or “AET” projects are continuously plagued by high absenteeism and dropout rates. Learners miss their classes due to a range of social challenges, while some drop out of their adult literacy training and adult numeracy training without giving any reasons for doing so. One may assume, therefore, that participants did not believe that they were receiving any value from the adult education and training or “AET”. This may be because the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training was not relevant to their specific circumstances, or that the benefits of the instruction were not communicated effectively to learners. Some learners do not complete their adult education and training or “AET” because they simply cannot cope with the course content or because they find the English literacy and basic maths instruction too easy and boring. This is because they were not placed at the correct adult literacy training and adult numeracy training level in the first place.

The accredited training provider’s educators are also very professional. They are committed to completing each individual adult literacy training and adult numeracy training assignment that they are given. Triple E Training also has many facilitators who are able to stand in for educators when they are, due to unforeseen circumstances, not able to make classes to ensure an uninterrupted adult education and training or “AET” experience for learners. Certainly, the high dropout rate of municipal adult basic education and training or “ABET” programmes can also be attributed to facilitator absenteeism and turnover. Classes can sometimes be postponed for extensive periods until replacements are found to complete the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. By this time, learners may have become frustrated and, therefore, decided to forego their adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. Slower English literacy and maths learners are also at risk of dropping out of their adult literacy training and adult numeracy training when momentum is not maintained.

KEY IMPACT MINING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES (BY TOTAL SPEND % CONTRIBUTION) IN 2019

InfrastructureR576-million43,7%
OthersR375-million28,4%
EducationR115-million8,7%
Enterprise developmentR109-million8,2%
Skills development, including adult education and training or “AET”R66-million5,0%
Job creationR23-million1,8%
HealthR23-million1,8%
EnvironmentR19-million1,5%
Sport and recreationR13-million1,0%
[Source:] Minerals Council of South Africa

LEADING ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING

ADULT LITERACY TRAINING AND ADULT NUMERACY TRAINING FOR INDUSTRY

The accredited training provider is also flexible. This ensures that it is able to adapt to accommodate companies’ tight production schedules and those of learners. The accredited training provider also undertakes its adult literacy training and adult numeracy training on site at a suitable venue to reduce transport costs for learners. Learners will not complete their training if it clashes with other more pressing responsibilities, such as earning a livelihood and family commitments, and when the transport costs involved in getting to and from English and basic maths classes are too high.

FACTS ABOUT SOUTH AFRICAN POVERTY

  • Poverty headcounts in rural areas are much higher than that of urban areas. In 2015, 25,2% of all South Africans who resided in urban areas lived below the upper-bound poverty line or “UBPL”. This is compared to the 65,4% of South African citizens located in rural areas who live below the upper-bound poverty line or “UBPL”.
  • Nearly half the South African adult population lives in poverty. According to Statistics South Africa, 49,2% of the country’s citizens over the age of 18 live below the upper-bound poverty line or “UPBL”.
  • South African women are generally more vulnerable to poverty. According to South Africa’s Living Conditions Survey or “LCS”, 52,2% of women live below the upper-bound poverty line or “UBPL”. This is compared to 46,1% of men who live below the upper-bound poverty line or “UBPL”. Moreover, 74,8% of women-led households live below the upper-bound poverty line or “UBPL”. This is compared to the 59,3% of men-led households that live below the upper-bound poverty line or “UBPL”. A similar gender gap exists at each line of poverty, with women consistently experiencing poverty more frequently than men.

South Africa ranks among the most unequal countries in the world, in terms of wages, wealth and consumption. In 2015, the country scored 0,65 in the Gini coefficient, one of the world’s highest. Consumption inequality has increased since the end of apartheid. Moreover, according to World Bank study, South Africa’s inequality of opportunity, based on access to quality basic services, like education to acquire essential English literacy and basic maths skills and healthcare, is higher than any other country in the world.

ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR LIFELONG LEARNING

English literacy and numeracy training empower communities

The accredited training provider also undertakes training in an environment that is conducive to learning. A case in point is a facility that was developed by one of the accredited training provider’s mining clients to deliver a more convenient environment for members of an affected community to participate in adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. The accredited training provider also prefers to provide adult literacy training and adult numeracy training at the same venue throughout a programme to mitigate interruptions to English literacy and basic maths lessons.

Triple E Training also separates learners according to their adult education and training or “AET” levels. This ensures that learners have the confidence that they need to engage with one another and the educator as part of the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training experience. They are, thus, not intimidated to ask questions in front of other learners who are more advanced in their adult literacy training and adult numeracy training and, therefore, have a better understanding of English literacy and basic maths.

There are many ways that these company-driven adult literacy training and adult numeracy training programmes are having a positive impact on impoverished communities of the country.

Bear in mind the large negative impact that illiteracy has on the South African economy. According to the University of Stellenbosch, microeconomic and macroeconomic estimates suggest that with a more typical level of school performance, South Africa’s gross-domestic product would be 23% to 30% higher.

At the same time, South Africa’s economy is relying extensively on higher proficiencies which are in short supply. Employees need to have English literacy and basic maths skills to function optimally in the modern workplace. Proper skills development, including adult literacy training and adult numeracy training, thus, has a key role to play in helping to address the very high levels of inequality in the country. This is by equipping individuals with knowledge, skills and competencies that are required by the economy so that they are able to gain and sustain employment, as well as improve their career prospects, income or professional status. South Africa has among the highest levels of inequality in the world. This is evidenced by the large disparity between unskilled, semi-skilled and high-skilled workers. People with higher proficiencies earn a premium for their services, while the wages of semi-skilled workers have stagnated, resulting in the emergence of a “missing middle”. At present, South African skilled workers can earn five times as much as their unskilled counterparts, while unemployment is currently at its highest levels, with youth and women among the most affected. This is considering the country’s dire shortage of skilled workers and abundance of low-skilled and semi-skilled labour.

EMPOWERING WOMEN WITH ENGLISH LITERACY AND BASIC MATHS SKILLS

A significant focus of these community adult basic education and training or “ABET” programmes is to equip women with English literacy and basic maths skills. Empowering women through quality adult literacy training and adult numeracy training has the following advantages:

  • Equipping women with English literacy and basic math skills contributes to economic growth. Countries that provide women with equal access and opportunity to education experience growth in their gross-domestic product. According to a study undertaken by the Council on Foreign Relations, equal education among both men and women between 1960 and 1992 led to higher annual per capita gross-domestic product growth in South Asian and sub-Saharan African countries.
  • Equipping women with English literacy and basic math skills enables them to participate meaningfully in the political landscape of a country. Research undertaken by the United Nations has demonstrated that literacy and numeracy capacity gaps hinder women from achieving leadership roles in local governments. In countries where more women were in leadership roles in government, such as India, the number of drinking projects increased significantly compared to those councils that were mainly led by men.
  • Equipping women with English literacy and basic math skills contributes to sustainable families. Empowering women with English literacy and basic math skills leads to smaller and more sustainable families. One in every three females in the world marries before the age of 18, according to the United Nations. However, in countries where females have attained more than seven years of education, wedding dates have been delayed by four years. According to a study undertaken by the Council on Foreign Affairs, illiterate mothers have about six children. Meanwhile, mothers who are literate and possess basic maths skills, have fewer than three children. Their education, including literacy and numeracy skills, enable them to take better care of and invest in their children’s wellbeing.

ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “AET” HAS MANY BENEFITS

English literacy and basic maths skills pull people out of poverty

Because people who are not functionally literate are more likely to experience poorer employment opportunities and outcomes, as well as lower incomes, they are increasingly reliant on social welfare, which places significant pressure on already-strained government resources. These individuals also have lower self-esteem, and many will resort to a life of crime to sustain themselves, negatively impacting their communities and societies at large. Their illiteracy also affects other facets of their lives as they are unable to complete forms and applications; understand the workings of government; and read medicine or nutritional labels.

Parents who are functionally illiterate often prioritise work before the education of their children. They also tend to have lower expectations with regards to academic performance and their children are, therefore, also likely to follow in their footsteps and not finish their education. This leads to a cycle of disadvantage and illiteracy through many generations in these poor areas of the country.

People who lack basic English literacy and numeracy skills are also more likely to make uninformed decisions regarding their health as they are unable to access important information that will improve their lifestyles.

Learn more about Triple E Training and our unique adult literacy training and adult numeracy training for companies that are serious about skills development. www.eee.co.za.

ABOUT ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “AET”

Adult education and training or “AET” consists of the following levels:

  • ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “AET” LEVEL 1
    • Language, Literacy and Communication level 1
    • Mathematical Literacy level 1
  • ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “AET” LEVEL 2
    • Language, Literacy and Communication level 2
    • Mathematical Literacy level 2
  • ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “AET” LEVEL 3
    • Language, Literacy and Communication level 3
    • Mathematical Literacy level 3
  • ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “ABET” LEVEL 4
    • Language, Literacy and Communication, totalling 23 credits.
    • Mathematical Literacy Unit Standards, totalling 16 credits.
    • Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences, totalling 14 credits

Individuals who have completed the accredited training provider’s quality adult literacy training and adult numeracy training will be able to:

  • Use a range of communication, language and learning strategies in a variety of contexts.
  • Explain and use mathematical strategies, techniques and patterns to solve problems.
  • Explain, select and use numbers, data and objects in everyday life situations.
Changing Lives Together