Adults studying for matric : a second chance

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This study focuses on a group of African adult students who were registered at St. Anthony's Adult Education Centre on the East Rand in order to complete the secondary education they did not complete at school. It investigates why adult students perceive education, and the matric examination in particular, to be of importance. To this end, an empirical survey was carried out to approach an understanding of the views and perceptions adult students had of themselves and what they were doing and why the empirical survey looks at the question of matric "from below" so to speak, through the eyes of the adult students. In the belief that education is about people and their needs, it is hoped that the empirical survey will bring us closer to the adult students involved. However, to examine the views and perceptions of the adult students in isolation would deny them the contextual richness that gives them life. For this reason, the empirical survey is preceded by a theoretical discourse which offers three perspectives or ways of understanding the education system for Africans: education as a means towards social advancement; education as the reproduction of cultural capital and education as social reproduction. It is hoped that these diverse explanations may not only give insight into the views and experiences of the adult students who took part in the empirical survey, but also offer contrasting thoughts on the role of the education system and the matric examination in particular. Indeed, in the light of the question asked by the title, it is hoped that the contrasting perspectives will contribute to an understanding of the nature of the "second chance" adult students believe they have by studying towards matric.

Includes bibliographies.