Exploring Formal and Non-formal Education Practices for Integrated and Diverse Learning Environments in Uganda

By Willy Ngaka, George Openjuru and Robert E. Mazur.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper explores opportunities for integrating formal and non-formal education in Uganda in ways that help learners acquire, build and maintain productive skills for sustainable livelihoods. Using an interpretive paradigm, the authors draw on the capability approach and social practices theory of literacy to guide their qualitative analysis. The authors describe good practices in non-formal education in Uganda and Africa which diversify learning options for learners. Integration of formal and non-formal education is shown as capable of promoting practice-oriented skills learning which can significantly improve Uganda’s education system which is currently too theoretical for addressing people’s real needs. Such integration can maximize rural people’s participation levels in government’s poverty reduction interventions and enhance their chances for creating wealth and attaining sustainable livelihoods. Challenges to be faced in bridging the gap between the two forms of education in Uganda are highlighted and the way forward suggested.

Keywords: Education, Formal Education, Indigenous Education, Informal Education, Lifelong Learn- ing, Non-formal Education, Wealth

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp.109-122. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 821.801KB).

Dr. Willy Ngaka

Centre Coordinator/Lecturer, Makerere University School of Distance and Lifelong Learning, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Dr. Willy Ngaka holds a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is now the Coordinator, Makerere University Centre for Lifelong Learning. Until January 31, 2011, he was in charge of research, projects and collaborations in the Department of Community Education and Extra-Mural Studies. He will continue to lecture in the Department of Adult and Community Education. His PhD research, which won the 2006 Elva Knight Research Award of the International Reading Association focused on “The Role of Literacy in Enhancing Capabilities for Participation in Uganda’s Plan for Modernization of Agriculture”. He also coordinates the Project Management component of the MSc jointly run by Makerere University College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He is an external examiner at the Uganda Management Institute. His academic interests include: capabilities and human development, literacies, adult and lifelong learning, sustainable rural livelihoods, ICTs for development, and community education. He is the convener of annual national intergenerational literacy learners’ conferences in Uganda and founder of Uganda Rural Literacy and Community Development Association. He is an active member of International Reading Association, the Golden Key International Honour Society and International Association for Community Development.

Dr. George Openjuru

Dean, School of Distance and Lifelong Learning, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Dr. George Ladaah Openjuru holds a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Currently, he is the Dean of the School of Distance and Lifelong Learning in the College of Education and External Studies, Makerere University. He is interested in literacy studies, lifelong learning and adult and community education. He teaches Policy Studies in Adult Education, Adult Literacy Studies, and Philosophy of Adult Education at the postgraduate level. He has published a number of articles in the areas of literacy as a social practice, lifelong learning and adult education and development. He is one of the international experts experimenting with a new approach to the teaching of adult literacy based on adult literacy ethnography.

Dr. Robert E. Mazur

Associate Director for Socioeconomic Development, Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, Iowa State University, Ames, USA

Robert Mazur is Professor of Sociology at Iowa State University, and Associate Director for Socioeconomic Development in the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL); he served as CSRL’s founding Director 2003–2008. His primary research interests are innovation and diversification in rural livelihood strategies, and linkages among livelihood activities, food security, and health. He is or has recently been Principal Investigator on grants on agriculture, health, and livelihoods from USAID, NIH, and the Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program. He has received college and university awards for international service at ISU, and received the Iowa Board of Regents Award for Faculty Excellence in September, 2010. He received his Ph.D. in 1982 in Sociology, specializing in development and population studies, from Brown University.

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