This study puts the spotlight on adult education, focussing specifically on how the EFA ABET policy is being implemented at grassroots level of ABET learning centres. A case study of a South African public ABET learning centre located within the Gauteng Province, and comprising of a multicultural group of ABET Level 2 adult learners with varied age-groups was conducted. Using the bio-ecological model, the study explores the dynamic interrelated and interdependent interactions between the individual adult learner learning to read and the influence of his context; thereby exploring the impact that EFA ABET policy has had on adult learners in South Africa. As part of the micro-system, the learner’s academic self-concept in reading literacy is explored as a key factor determining the adult learner’s achievement in learning to read. Rather than focus on the deficiencies of the system, this study adopts a solution-focused approach by investigating the assets that exist within the system that enable adult learners to develop a positive academic self-concept and facilitate their acquisition of reading literacy. The findings suggest that there are internal and external assets existing within the ABET learner’s ecosystem which when mobilised can be utilised to promote a positive academic self-concept in reading literacy. This potency of the assets in enhancing the academic self-concept was mediated by the locus of control for agency as well as the synergy of focus amongst the assets. Where the locus of control was located externally, it created limited impact because the learners were limited to activate and mobilise those assets to achieve their goal of acquiring reading literacy. Where control was locates internally, the learners were stimulated to persevere in their endeavours to acquire reading literacy despite the challenges they were facing within their eco-system. Where assets were focused on promoting a common goal, they facilitated mobility and focus of energy toward the acquisition of reading literacy. However, where the assets had divergent foci, they created the divergent priorities and undermined effective attainment of the goal of acquiring reading literacy.