Continuing education within provincial communities : a provision-paradigm with application to the New Zealand setting : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Education at Massey University
This thesis sets out to consider significant aspects of continuing education In today's modern world, towards the development of a paradigm for making adequate and meaningful service provisions within provincial communities. Additionally, such an approach is utilised in an analysis of continuing education needs and service proposals for a specific community. The study is divided into two parts - Part I: The Conceptual Foundations, and, Part II: A Community Study. They are closely interrelated, in that each has had major influence on the development of the other. whilst for some purposes they could be regarded as independent, for the purpose of this presentation they are interlocking. Part I initially explores elements of modern western society, highlighting features related to the contemporary demands placed upon individuals and communities. The direction of focus is on provincial communities, and in particular those within the New Zealand setting. Two major challenges arising out of the current situation are presented as being the need for the maximum development of individuals and their communities. Education is regarded as a necessity for Meeting these challenges, and examination is made of the principles of lifelong education as they are currently being emphasised. Continuing education is considered within the context of these principles. The community , as a significant setting for mans daily experience is discussed in relation to education. It is argued that education must be largely restored to this setting, to give it maximum exposure and meaning for people. The community is examined in relation to its role in the creation of educational needs and its potential as a resource-base for having many of these needs met. The place of education in community development efforts is also recognised, and several approaches are reviewed through which the involvement of educators in this process may take place. From these factors, a broad paradigm is presented for making continuing education provisions within a community. The essential elements are a widening of the educational concept and the development of an effective learning network within a community. Resources from the locality and surrounding areas are regarded as the necessary ingredients for such a network. The community becomes the context, setting, and resource-base for educational programmes to meet the needs of individuals, groups, and the community. Part II of the dissertation is a study of a New Zealand provincial community. With the framework of the theoretical foundations espoused in Part I, using a 'participant-observer' research method, the researcher studied the community in relation to its general nature and its continuing education provisions and needs. Various alternate approaches for providing services, such as a community college, a community centre, and community schools, are measured against the community characteristics and needs. Proposals are made for specific service provisions within the community. These come out of the paradigm framework, and involve a staff-team operating from a community agency to utilise community resources in comprehensive continuing education programmes.