Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Tshepang (to have hope): Lifelong Learning Transformed by Programme Participants

Fiona Bulman, Paticia Bender.

INdlovu Partnership for Lifelong Learning undertook a small study to identify the needs and attitudes of their target group towards education and training. The research indicated that this group of out of school youth and unemployed people in the Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) had been profoundly influenced by their earlier experiences of education and socialization which tended to be dominated by respect for authority figures and punishment. One of the primary recommendations from the research was the development of a learner orientation program that would address the need for career guidance while recognizing the importance of the individual’s role in deciding their future and attempting to shift attitudes towards education and skills training.

This paper describes a practical response in the form of the “Learner Orientation Program” a five-day course utilizing a narrative approach to self-discovery and career guidance. The three case studies described in this paper are based on the experiences of learners, facilitators and researcher involved in the evaluation of the pilot of the Program. The case studies are presented using the participants’ own voices drawing from the transcripts of interviews, the days debriefing sessions and the responses recorded in learners’ workbooks throughout the program. These voices highlight how the program transformed not just the learners but the facilitators and evaluator as well.


Fiona Bulman  (South Africa)
Coordinator of Open Learning
Open Learning
Unversity of KwaZulu-Natal

I graduated at the University of Natal in the late 60s and have been employed at the University since 1986, first as a tutuor in the Language and Reading Centre then as Co-ordinator of the Academic Support and Education Development Programmes in the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences. Currently I co-ordinate the Open Learning Network at the newly formed University of KwaZulu-Natal. Open Learning provides flexible study programmes for mature students who cannot attend classes during the working week. In co-ordinating Open Learning I have been responsible for the development and management of nine off-campus open learning centres where the Faculties of Education and Community and Development Disciplines run programmes. This requires ongoing liaison with local communities and schools in particular. My areas of research relate to gender and adult education and my particular fields of interest are the development of further education and training opportunities for adults and women's rights in post-apartheid South Africa. In this regard I am currently Chairperson of the Board of Directors of iNdlovu Partnership for Lifelong Learning which is a consortium of about 50 education and training providers in the midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal. I also sit on the Management COmmittee of the Midlands WOmen's Group and am President of the National Association of Distance Education Organisations of South Africa.

Paticia Bender  (United States)

  • Lifelong Learning
  • Out-of-school youth
  • Further Education and Training
  • Learner Orientation
  • Career guidance
  • Narrative approach to writing
  • Narrative approach in career guidance
  • Adult education
  • Adults entering further education and training
  • Orientation Programmes
  • Learner needs assessment
  • Learners experiences

(Virtual Presentation, English)