AbstractAdult education has generally held a high profile around the world in the last decade, but in the Caribbean region adult education is still to be seen as a remedial necessity rather than a developmental imperative. Today we are facing a change in the global economy, a major demographic transition, and increased educational demands suited a growing knowledge-based society. To St. Lucia and other small states, these challenges are more pressing than elsewhere. The Governor General of St. Lucia (Head of State) has recognised the importance of human capital in economic growth, and has therefore made an obligation to direct social and personal development within the wider context of lifelong learning.
What does the St. Lucian Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sport do to accommodate these challenges, and how do they meet the adult learners in their aspiration for basic or continuing education?
This study describes how learners and facilitators interact in courses set by the National Enrichment and Learning Program (NELP). I have gathered empirical data, examined theories and studied NELP’s philosophical and conceptual framework, to better understand what I have called ”a learning situation”. I believe this learning situation to be a micro dimension or a reflection of the society and NELP’s position in it, at a personal, theoretical, and practical level. I have therefore used a method from an ethnographic tradition where the empirical evidence is gathered directly from the people in the culture, using various tools of research. Through my attendance in the learning situation I have managed to gather data through observations, answers to a questionnaire and interviews. Some of the questions I have tried to answer are: How do the learners and facilitators experience their interaction, and do the learners find the teaching approaches to be stimulating?
After three months of fieldwork I have concluded that NELP does not manage to carry out their fundamental thoughts of facilitation into practice. Instead they are combining a didactic- and a facilitative approach of teaching, to fit local conditions in a rapidly changing world.