There is a debate that Adult education is a vehicle for social change. Join the debate by discussing the implications of the following theories on the subject.
The term adult education means it is a practice in which an adult learner engaged in systematic self-direct learning activities in order to gain new knowledge, attitudes and skill. On the hand, social change is the changes that take place in human interaction and interrelation. Therefore, adult education is vehicle for change as communities develop new social life in terms of culture, ethic and values. Furthermore, following are the implications by different theories on social change.
Evolutionary in itself is process of change that took long or slow over a period such as centuries although, been a process of change it has an interrelated development of cycle to completed. Therefore, adult education seen as a vehicle tool for social change is a process of transforming knowledge from generation to generation. However, evolutionary theorist in the 19th century applied Charles Darwin’s (1809-1882) work in biological evolution to theories of social changes. Furthermore, evolutionary theory belief that society move in specific directions. Therefore, early social evolutionists saw society as progressing to higher and higher levels. In agreement with early social evolutionists, one sees adult education which is nowadays a lifelong learning process in the current 21st century that are in advance with technology, climate changing issues and global warming adult education plays vital role in this changing process, to educate, develop as well as developing nations as this has become global issue in terms of global diverse cultures
Contemporary social evolutionists like Gerhard Lenski, Jr., however, view social change as multi-linear rather than un-linear. Gerhard Lenski, Jr. argue that the “evolutionary theory holds that change occur in several ways and does not inevitably lead in the same direction”. As a result of this multi-linear social change, there is need to address this. For this reason, adult education is vehicle tool for social change as it is a fundamental method of social progress and reform.
Finally, Spencer beliefs or views that mankind had progressed from small groups to large and from simple to compound
2) Theory Cyclical Theory
Cycle is a process of starting at point A and then went throughout the stages of development and ends at point A again, repeating process. Therefore, cyclical change is a variation on un-linear theory which was developed by Spengler (1918) and Toynbee (A Study of History, 1956). They argued that “societies and civilisations change according to cycles of rise, decline and fall just as individual persons are born, mature, grow old, and die”. Furthermore, Spengler beliefs that “every society every society has a predetermined life cycle—birth, growth, maturity and decline. Society, after passing through all these stages of life cycle, returns to the original stage and thus the cycle begins again”.
In agreement to the cyclical theorist that every society has a life circle of birth, rise or growth, maturity, decline and fall. Therefore, incorporate adult education in the life circle of society for adaptation and enhancement in new developments throughout the process of change with better understanding and as transformer of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour. For example, before independence Namibian women’s did not know much about their human rights but, after the independence through informal or adult education programme such as WAD (2008) “My Rights as a Woman and Namibian Citizen”. This program was a ground breaking informative program represented by various women from different institutions, traditional authorities, NGO’s and faith-based organisations. Finally, women been empower now stands up for their rights in terms 50/50 equality.
In conclusion, Vacher de Lapouge “holds that race is the most important determinant of culture. In addition, he maintains that civilization develops and progresses when a society is composed of individuals belonging to superior races and declines when racially inferior people are absorbed into it”. Therefore, cyclical theory is neither really helpful in anticipating the changes which may not occur nor is it useful in distinguishing positive changes from negative changes, except in retrospect.
3) Functionalism and social change
Functionalism theory is concern about the way how society or community is construct in its inter-dependency to be stable. In addition, functionalists belief that community, culture, family or society is comprised of functionally interdependent parts or the system as a whole especially, the society that are made up of inter-connected institutions (for example education, family, government) which depended on each other to function. In the current 21st century from one’s point of view incorporating adult education as vehicle tool for social change in terms of functional stability enhancement. For example, our current situation in Namibia where the country is going in process recession in terms economics, sustainable development are seen to kept the interdependency of the society however, making the sustainable development known to the community and society as large adult education is real tool to address this issue of sustainability in economics, cultural, political and environmental demission’s by training them through community based programmes that are local, regional and national such as Namibian Association of community Based natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Support Organisation (NACSO) and Conservation Agriculture Namibia (CAN).
Furthermore, Tallcott Parsons and Morton argue that all the structures such as heart, lungs and kidney are closely related to each other and all the functions are interrelated and interdependent. Change in one leads to changes in others. Each structure serves its own function and at same time helps others to function. In this way the whole social system functions and undergoes social change.
Finally, any change occurring in any part of the society is countered by adjustments in other parts. Therefore, adult education as a vehicle tool in terms educating the farmers through farmers association to sell all weak cattle and keep those that could make through the drought, as adult education enables individuals to effectively participate in the activities of society and to make positive contributions to the progress of society.
4) Economic Theory
The fourth theory of social change like other social change theory are concern about the social change by from the economic point of view. Although functionalism theory in concern about how society is construct in its inter-dependency to be stable. However, largely influence by Marx and Marxism the economic theory rests on this fundamental assumption that changes in the economic ‘infra-structure’ of society are the prime movers of social change. For Marx, “society consists of two structures—’infra-structure’ and ‘super-structure’. The ‘infra-structure’ consists of the ‘forces of production’ and ‘relations of production”. Furthermore, Max argue that the “production system is the lever of all social changes, and this system is dynamic”. Additionally, he believed that change occurs through contradiction of forces and this is present throughout the history in some or the other form.
Global diversity through trades has change economic structure of the societies although Marx Marism has a belief that society’s economic structure are based in its infrastructure and super structure. However, incorporating adult education as a tool through programmes such as Adult Skills Development For Self-Employment (ASDSE) by Ministry of Education Art and Culture through the department lifelong learning and by Ministry of trade and industry “The Business Support service Programme (BSSP)” to assist entrepreneurs to conduct feasibility studies, develop business plans, enhance business skills through hands-on training including business monitoring and mentoring as well as record-keeping and stock controlling.
Finally, Marx argue “that the basic contradictions contained in a capitalist economic system would lead to class consciousness. Therefore, the proletariat would overthrow the bourgeoisie and seize the forces of production—the source of power. Property would be communally owned. Now, all members of society would share the same relationship to the forces of production”.
5) Conflict theory
Conflict theorists maintain that, because a society’s wealthy and powerful ensure the status quo in which social practice and institutions favourable to them continue, change plays a vital role in remedying social inequalities and injustices. Adult education as a vehicle tool for social change incorporated in conflict theory it is clearly seen that there is a competition over power, wealth and prestige. For this reason, conflict is seen as a fact of needs to be resolve making used of adult education as lifelong learning process and adults known by their characteristics such motivation, experience and self-direct learning can be involved in social change by educating the community members in inequalities and injustices. Although, Karl Marx (1818) “accepted the evolutionary argument that societies develop along a specific direction. In addition, he noted that history proceeds in stages in which the rich always exploit the poor and weak as a class of people. For example, slaves in ancient Rome and the working classes today share the same basic exploitation”.
Finally, Marx’s view of social change is proactive, it does not rely on people remaining passive in response to exploitation or other problems in material culture. In agreement with Marx’s view of social change tools are presented for individuals through adult education or lifelong learning in terms of Vision 2030 of Namibia focussing on Knowledge base society that addressing the inequality and injustices. For example, to out-class the dominance of unskilled labourers for lobour market through different community based skills training centre such as COSDEC in different regions of Namibia that had been open which takes in the unskilled and none qualified members of community to change the inequality by training them to become semi-skilled or skilled industrial workers and entrepreneurs through courses such as carpentry and joinery, office administration, bricklaying and plastering, hospitality operations, welding and metal fabrication, clothing and textiles production, hairdressing and plumbing.
With examples from your community, briefly discuss how Ubuntu philosophy could help communities in solving disputes for social development.
It is clearly seen that none human being can exist on each own firstly, been as child born from two stream act father and mother which becomes family and later community and society. In addition, societies tend to be cohesive and productive, working together as one family in their social grouping. Therefore, in society and community living together is very important in socialisation, social development is about improving the well-being of every individual or member in community or society so that they can reach their potential and for this reason, incorporating Ubutu philosophy in solving disputes amongst the communities for social development.
Ubutu in itself means that “A person is a person through other persons. None of us comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other human beings. We need an-other human beings in order to be human” (Tutu, 2004:25). Secondly, social development is a development process that benefits communities throughout their interacting relationship as groups and societies in terms of interrelated norms and values that are leading them. The Ubuntu philosophy beliefs that the rational behaviour focuses on positive human values, such as love, sympathy, kindness and sharing. Respect refers to an objective and unbiased consideration of and regard for somebody’s rights, values, beliefs and property (Eze, 2006; Tutu, 2004:26; Yukl, 2002). For example, the sorri-sorris constituency community members have come to a point to resolve the issue of stealing amongst the community that was unethical towards the community values. Therefore, the community has call on an Ubuntu link program that is call living together (I live for you and you for me). The community of sorri-sorris constituency has solidified decide to monitor or take care of their cattle, goats and sheep in terms your cattle are mine and mine are yours. In addition, has started a garden project incorporating the dispute of women are the only ones to work in the garden therefore, assist by Ubuntu belief and approach the dispute was resolve as follows in terms of human being are there for the other human being therefore, has unanimously decide that men as well as women work equally in the garden by watering it themselves in groups that are responsible on weekly bases to solve the dispute of inequality amongst community. Furthermore, Ubuntu philosophy beliefs that the community is a solidify entity that are unified by their values, norms and beliefs.
Finally, The Ubuntu philosophy believes in group solidarity, which is central to the survival of African communities (Dia, 1992; Mbigi & Maree, 2005:75). Therefore, in a hostile environment, it is only through such community solidarity that hunger, isolation, deprivation, poverty and any emerging challenges can be survived, because of the community’s brotherly and sisterly concern, cooperation, care, and sharing. For example, in Namibia community members of Tsiseb constituency had come up with food and cloth sharing program through which all cloth items and mostly pre-pack food items are throw in a trolley and distribute amongst the needy members as part of poverty eradication amongst their community and to enhance better living for all.
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