"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." The famous quote of John Dewey simply says it all. Society is dependent on its individuals and education plays an important role in developing communities. Education provides humans with the ability to improve their performance and lifestyle by making informed choices and by forming opinion on political issues concerning themselves. Developed nations invest heavily on education as they realize the importance of providing education to their citizens.
In the UK there are many adult education centres that deal with the education of adults in the workplace, through continuing education courses at colleges, universities or lifelong learning centres. Adult education is often referred to as 'second-chance' or 'training and development' and many schools offer tailor-made courses and learning programs for the returning learners. Hence, these adult education centres play a vital role in society since education contributes to the development of communities.
Adult education is different from traditional children's education since adults have accumulated knowledge, and work experience which adds to their learning experience. They often apply their knowledge practically to learn more effectively. For instance in the 1990s when PCs were newly introduced many adults, mostly office workers, enrolled in computer training to learn the basic use of the operating system or specific application software. Most of the adult education centres provide one to one tutoring and small group sessions for adults.
Continuing education is also called further education in the UK, which refers to post-secondary learning activities and programs. The post-secondary learning activities include degree credit courses by non-traditional students, non-degree career training, workforce training, on-campus and online formal personal enrichment courses, self-directed learning through Internet interest groups, clubs or personal research activities, and experiential learning as applied to problem solving. The method of delivery of continuing education can include traditional types of classroom lectures and laboratories.
However, mostly continuing education is offered through distance learning, including videotaped/CD-ROM material, broadcast programming, online/Internet delivery and online Interactive Courses. Continuing education is basically for those adult learners who are beyond the traditional undergraduate college or university age. However, further education assumes adults have basic education and are continuing with their education hence it does not include basic instruction such as literacy, English language skills, or programs such as vocational training.
School in South Africa begins in grade 0, or grade R. It's the equivalent of our kindergarten, a time of school preparation and early childhood socialization. Grades 0 to 9 make up General Education and Training, followed by Further Education and Training (FET) from grades 10 to 12. Students either stay in high school during this time, or enter more specialized FET institutions with an emphasis on career-oriented education and training. After passing the nationally-administered Senior Certificate Examination, or "matric," some students will continue their education at the tertiary level, working towards degrees up to the doctoral level. Over a million students are enrolled in South Africa's 24 state-funded colleges and universities.
With a solid educational structure in place, South Africa continues the long and arduous process of overcoming the discriminatory legacy left behind by 40 years of apartheid education. Under that system, white South African children received a quality schooling virtually for free. Black students, on the other hand, had access only to "Bantu education", a system based on the unjust philosophy that there was no place in South African society for black Africans "above certain forms of labor" (a quote attributed to HF Verwoerd, the architect of the Bantu Education Act of 1953). In the 1970s, government spending on black education was one-tenth of spending on whites. By the 1980s, teacher to pupil ratios in primary schools averaged 1:18 in white schools and 1:39 in black schools. Even the standards for education were different between black and while schools: while 96 percent of all teachers in white schools had teaching certificates, only 15 percent of teachers in black schools were certified. Not surprisingly during apartheid, high school graduation rates for black students were less than half the rate for whites.
Bantu education was abolished with the end of apartheid in 1994. Nevertheless, South Africa continues to struggle with inequality and educational disparities. Seventeen years after the end of apartheid, the vast majority of poor black children are denied a quality education at severely deprived public schools. Over three-quarters of these schools do not have libraries, and even more do not have a computer. Around 90 percent of public schools have no science laboratory, and more than half of all pupils either have no text books or have to share them. Over a quarter of public schools do not even having running water.
More affluent South Africans (read: White South Africans, along with a small but growing contingent from the black middle class) can afford to send their children to so-called former "Model C" schools, publicly funded schools that were previously allowed only for white students. These schools charge extra school fees to supplement teachers' salaries and buy extra resources. Not surprisingly, these former white-only schools have far superior facilities and quality of education.