Participation, nonparticipation & dropout in adult basic education : the Singapore experience
This study, the first of its kind in Singapore, attempted to explore and examine the reasons for
participation, nonparticipation and dropout. The research is focused on two adult basic
education (ABE) programmes that are offered on a national scale, viz., Basic Education for
Skills Training (BEST) and Work Improvement through Secondary Education (WISE).
The reasons for participation, nonparticipation and dropout were explored from the perspective
of the teachers, organisations and workers, who formed the main sample population. The
research was guided by the following questions: 1) What are the profiles of the BEST & WISE
teachers?, 2) What are the experiences of the teachers?, 3) What are the reasons for the
participants enroling in these programmes?, 4) What are the profiles of organisations
participating in these programmes?, 5) What are the issues and perspectives of these
organisations in relation to the BEST & WISE programmes?, 6) What are the reasons that
have 'caused' the participants to cease attending classes before the end of the course term and
also for not taking the BEST & WISE examinations?, 7) Why are some workers reluctant to
participate in the BEST & WISE courses and also in other continuing education programmes?
Againstt his backdrop,t he thesisi s organiseda s follows:
Chapter 1 lays the foundation, and examines the factors which might have affected
participation, nonparticipation and dropout. It presents the nature of the BEST and
WISE programmes and their rationale. Definitions of ABE are examined and the
context under which ABE occurs in Singapore is then explored. ABE is also discussed
from an organisational context. The rationale and significance of the study, the research
questions and the definitions in relation to this research are presented.
In Chapter 2, a literature riew of the inquiry is undertaken. Chapter 3 discusses the
philosophical basis for the research approach and analyses the methods used to collect
the data (methodological triangulation was used (questionnaire surveys, interviews
(semistructured/unstructured), telephone surveys) that involved all the teachers, a sample
population of the organisations, participants, nonparticipants and dropouts. This chapter
also discusses the ethical considerations that were taken into account, and presents an
overview of the research approach through the design of a conceptual framework.
The data gathered from the BEST & WISE teachers are presented in Chapter 4 which
includes a heuristic model that was used in the analysis of the BEST & WISE
programmes, while Chapter 5 presents it from the perspective of the participating
organisations. Chapter 6 provides an analysis of the data gathered from the participants,
dropouts and nonparticipants.
Chapter7 concludes with a summary, the limitations of the study, the conclusions and
implications considered to be of relevance and value to the collaborating organisation of
this study, in particular, the Technical Institute of Education, researchers, practitioners,
curriculum designers, policy makers,amongst others,and for future research.