The main objective of this research was to explore the experiences and perceptions
of adult learners at Public Adult Learning Centres. A total number of eighteen adult
learners from three Public Adult Learning Centres in Nkomazi East Circuit at
Ehlanzeni District participated in the study. The study was qualitative in nature using
the interpretive paradigm. Data was collected through focus group interviews,
individual interviews and observation. The study revealed that adult learners have mixed feelings and opinions regarding
their experiences at Public Adult Learning Centres. Results indicated that some
adults found their experiences interesting and enriching and have positive attitudes
towards the teaching and learning at Public Adult Learning Centres, while others
were frustrated with the lack of teaching and learning resources, and the poor
management at the centres.
Adult learners seem to regard education as important and they received satisfactory
support from their families, communities, teachers, employers, and fellow adult
learners, as well as financial support from the Department of Education. Findings
revealed that adult learners find it difficult to understand the content of subjects and
to cope with the pace of teaching. Participants had different views about the
language of instruction. Some preferred English for employment and social purposes
while others preferred the vernacular so as to have a better understanding of the
content and to pass the subjects. These learners preferred that the content should
prepare them for employment and for coping with day-to-day activities in rural areas.
Responsibilities at home, becoming a learner at an elderly age, being involved in
seasonal jobs and catching up work after absence were some of the challenges that
adult learners experienced.
From the results and findings of the study, recommendations were made to improve
the effectiveness of teaching and learning and functionality of Public Adult Learning
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