Está en la página 1de 9

DESIGN OF ADULT SECONDARY STUDIES FROM THE

PERSPECTIVE OF THE NEEDS AND OBJECTIVES OF ITS


STUDENTS. BASIC SKILLS, COMPLEMENTARY SKILLS, AND
ACADEMIC CONTENTS
Pastor Prez, Jos Toms
Centre for Adult Education Merc Rodoreda (SPAIN)

Abstract
Although the Decree 220/1999 [1], that regulates the adult education in the Valencian Community,
takes into account the social and professional integration of learners, in many centres this requirement
is neglected because the main objective is usually teaching "traditional" (maths, natural science, ...)
subjects.
The presented paper analyses the needs (personal, academic and labour) of the learners regarding
the skills (basic and complementary) and the main academic content taught nowadays.
This study shows the need for training learners in complementary skills, which is concluded to be
performed transversely. This necessity requires greater organization among teachers and further
training in these complementary skills. Throughout the 2012/13 academic year the Adult Centre Merce
Rodoreda detected this need and has been working with this requirement since then.
This paper attempts to provide an overview of adult education for obtaining the secondary education
studies from the point of view of recent studies on skills and its relationship with the needs (personal,
academic and labour) of learners. In this sense, Goleman(1998) [2] believes that the skills are more
important than academic intelligence if the learners want to achieve higher job, personal, academic,
and social welfare.
This paper shows the results of the statistical study performed in May, 2014 among learners who are
preparing for obtaining a degree in secondary education in seven different adult training centres in the
province of Alicante (Spain). This survey was answered by 250 students, obtaining a confidence level
of 95% with a 6% maximum of sampling error.
The study performed has the advantage of allowing the analysis of the skills of the students who have
already had a life experience. In this context the aim of the present paper is to exchange experiences
and knowledge about secondary education for adults from the point of view of basic and
complementary skills, which have a significant bigger impact on student motivation and the results
obtained by them.
Keywords: Job requirements, minimum competencies, adult education, lifelong learning.

INTRODUCTION

In the introduction of the decree 220/1999 that regulates the adult education in the community of
Valencia, it is highlighted the integrated development of students, as well as the social and labour
integration of these, and this is supposed to be done both directly in the subject "World of work" and
transversely in the remaining subjects. If we analyze the current socio-economic context, these
approaches remain essential, so all the efforts made in this way are justified. As an example I will take
the unemployment rate in Spain, showing a comparatively high (24.47% in the second quarter of
2014) value with respect to other neighboring countries and especially significant among the younger
population (49,99% among 20-24 years old)1. The unemployment rate in adult schools, as we will see,
is superior to these data, which justifies a study that takes into account the job facet in this educational
environment.
In addition to the difficulty of finding work in the current economic crisis, we have to take into account
that students attending the adult education centres to obtain graduate school have special
characteristics. The failure to conclude the basic studies determines a high probability of social and
1

Data obtained from the INE (Instituto Nacional de Estadstica), www.ine.es

labour market exclusion, which provides an additional justification for the implementation of activities
aimed at improving their personal and professional development.
We should also be aware that many of these students are not able to follow a higher education due to
their responsibilities and lack of academic studies, leaving them unable to qualify for training that
offers added value in the labour market. This requires a greater involvement in providing students
extra training to help them to enter successfully the long term in the job market, as otherwise they are
likely to enter a cycle of low-paying jobs or unemployment.

1.1

BACKGROUND

In the academic year 2012/13 actions aimed at professional development of students in the adult
centre CFPA (Centro de formacin de personas adultas) Merc Rodoreda were nonexistent or very
rare, so it was decided to conduct a first statistical study (May 2013) in order to meet the needs of
students in this regard. This study determined a range of activities in the centre, including the
participation in a European Grundtvig project. This being an European association of nine educational
centres from eight different countries with the aim of sharing good practices about how to help learners
to find employment, to run a business or help them in their professional career. This project is founded
by the European Union and has been coordinated from this centre.
Following the firm commitment of the CFPA Merc Rodoreda to help their students, the Occupational
Observatories of two universities in the province of Alicante were contacted. The result of this contact
was a very fruitful exchange of experiences, including the work of the UMH (University Miguel
Hernandez) of Elche for introducing complementary 2 skills in the academic curriculum. In the Spanish
universities, this orientation is determined by the adaptation of university studies to the European
Higher Education framework, while in the CFPA Rodoreda this goal arose from the need to provide
training tailored to the needs of students. Although both groups of students were different in terms of
educational level, both will have to integrate their students into the labour market in a short and
medium-term. However, this goal was more difficult for students in the adult school due to their lower
educational level, which would require greater involvement by the public administration in adult
education. Without greater support from the administration actions to include the complementary skills
in the academic curriculum can be introduced but not fully developed.
The experience of the UMH in the introduction of complementary skills in the curriculum is not an
isolated experience, it has been done in other universities. Besides being subject to a European
recommendation, several studies that reinforce the positive effects of the development of these
complementary skills have been done. For example, regarding the introduction of labour skills, Plac
and Moriano (2003) [3] observed a greater fluidity in the structure of intellect, in the information
processing and human adaptability. Also Rodriguez-Trujillo (1999) [4] emphasizes the value of skills
as an adaptive element to the new labour market characterized by a high level of flexibility and
change, and a greater demand for individual skills.
Most of these studies have been conducted in the universities and professional level, so that a specific
study is necessary in adult schools. To try to meet this need, a second study (May 2014) was carried
out. To achieve the second study it was conducted a survey among students from seven adult schools
in the province of Alicante. These group being best placed to give accurate results about the need of
complementary skills.

1.2

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

This paper attempts to provide an overview of adult education from the point of view of recent studies
on competence and its relationship with the needs (personal, academic and employment) of their
students. In this sense, Goleman (1998) [1] believes that the skills are more important than academic
intelligence if they are to achieve better work and a personal, academic and social welfare.
The term "complementary skills" is introduced as that different from the basic skills (linguistic
communication, mathematics, knowledge and interaction with the physical world, digital skills and
information processing, social and civic, cultural and artistic competence, learning to learn and
personal initiative). Due to the variety of studies conducted and the classifications carried out, there is
no globally established classification, so that it becomes necessary to introduce the previous term. If
we look at the most important studies developed, the term "complementary skills" would include,
between others, the emotional, systemic, interpersonal, generic or transversal, labour, professional
competencies.
2

There are several definitions for the term "competence". For example, the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD, 2002) in their DeSeCo (Definition and Selection of
Competences) project, [5] defined it as "the ability to successfully respond to the demands or carry out
tasks related to the cognitive and practical dimensions". This definition considers that the skills can be
learned, which are important for different areas of life and that contribute to a fuller life and a more
functional society. The Tuning project (Gonzlez and Wagenaar, 2003 [6]) defines the competences
from three dimensions: knowledge and understanding, to know how to act and how to be. Palac and
Moriano (2003) [3] talk of competence as codes of observable behaviors that dominate some people
better than others, making them more effective than others in certain work situations.
There are many studies that determine greater professional success in those university graduates with
a better command of the socio-emotional skills, which is why universities, in the European Higher
Education, prepare students to acquire skills, abilities and values, adopting a new methodology
oriented to skill learning (Bologna Declaration, 1999 [7]). Such studies have been performed not only
in universities but also in general education (Euryduce, 2002 [8]), work that concluded the definition of
the eight core competencies that are already included in the curricula of primary and secondary, but
not in adult school.

2
2.1

METHODOLOGY
Initial study (May 2013)

In May 2013, a survey was performed to analyze whether students were interested in their adult centre
investing help in them to: find jobs, start their own business or know how to choose the most
appropriate studies. Additionally it analyzed which elements could be included in the curriculum, taking
into account the information obtained from the following studies: National Survey of Employers in USA
on General Skills (Core-competences ), Goleman (1998) [1], Recommendation of the Council and the
European Parliament to the European Commission on key competencies to be developed (MEMO /
05/416) [9], English National System (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority), Personal competences
demanded by the Spanish labour market (Ariza, 2001 [10]) and the TUNING Project [6].
The survey was sent to a total of 186 students in the first and second year of the second cycle of
Secondary Education of the adult centrer Merc Rodoreda; 107 students received the survey and 87
answered it. The result of this study showed a high interest (80%) of students to find or improve their
employment. Additionally it was found a high interest of students of the centre to prepare them to find
jobs, support their entrepreneurial projects and advise them on their professional careers.

2.2

Second study (May 2014)

Compared to the previous study, the population of the sample is higher, which will allow us to obtain
conclusions that could be useful for a large number of centres. This survey has been done in seven
public institutions of adult education in the province of Alicante, with a wide spatial distribution that
would allow us to obtain as reliable as possible to reality. The centres surveyed are:
CFPA Beniassent (Concentaina), CFPA Orihuela, CFPA Giner (Alicante), CFPA Joan Lluis Vives (Ibi),
L'Illa dels CFPA Garrofers (Novelda), CFPA Rodoreda (Elche), CFPA Ramn Ortega (Denia) .
The present study (May 2014) takes into account not only complementary skills tested in the previous
study (May 2013), but also added those complementary skills that are developed in the students of
universities like UMH, DEUSTO, CAMBRIDGE or UNED and others recommended by the Reflex
studies [11], EU-Converge, AQU, Transend, Cheers, etc. Although the competences proposed in
these studies focus primarily in college students, it have been used in this study due to the lack of
related adult training studies.

2.2.1 Statistical information


The population considered in the statistical study is 5974 people, which corresponds to the number of
students enrolled at public adult education to obtain the degree in secondary education in the province
of Alicante according to data obtained from the database "Educabase" from the Ministry of Education
of Spain for the year 2012-13, the latest data available at the time of the present study. Although no
data is available for the academic year 2013/14, it is found that the number of enrollments for this
academic year is lower compared with the previous year, which would determine a lower value for the

sample. The value calculated for the sample is 250 students, which will be more than what is
necessary for the 2013/14 academic year. All information relating to the calculation of the value of the
sample is developed in Appendix I.

RESULTS OF THE SECOND SURVEY (MAY 2014)

There is a high percentage of unemployment (62.9%) among students attending adult schools, which
justifies that most of them are very interested in finding employment. Specifically, 81.6% of students
attending adult schools in the province of Alicante have, as their direct objective, to change / improve /
find work (or set up a business) in the short to medium term.
Another question asked to the students is the involvement of the centres to help them in their main
objectives. Results obtained are showed in the next table (Fig.1).

OBJECTIVE

MEAN

Prepare to find a job

6,2

Prepare to continue studying

7,7

Personal development

7,3

Prepare to entrepreneurship

3,5

Fig. 1: Involvement of the adult center to help the students in their main objectives.
It should be noticed that this questionnaire was done with the objective of helping the students in their
employment facet, which could make the figures related to employment and self-employment bigger.
Another question asked to the students was how an adult centre can help you to be more
professionally prepared?, and these were their answers (Fig. 2):
PROPOSAL

ANSWERS (%)

Include, in the subjects, the 64,00%


basic knowledge to be more
professionally prepared
Include courses in the school 30,00%
timetable
Include in the curriculum an 41,00%
specific subject to develop
professionally
Courses out of school timetable

16,00%

Personal counseling

40,00%

Fig. 2: Proposals from the students to help them at professional level


Note that the students could choose some possibilities. The percentages are over the whole number
of 216 answers (students interested in finding a job).

The study related to the skills is quite broad, as it analyses the four main fields that arise in the
training: personal development, professional development, entrepreneurship and continuing studies.
The way in which this study was conducted was based on asking students for those five (basic and
supplementary) skills or subjects (academic studies), from a list of 44, which they consider are most
important in the four fields mentioned previously. These questions were not asked to all of the
students, but only to those who are experienced enough to provide a judgment on each of the fields. In
this sense, only questions about the labour needs are made to those who have work experience, on
entrepreneurial field to those who have already mounted or run a company, about academic field to
those who intend to continue studying and on a personal level is questioned to all. Given these
conditions the number of students answering each field are: PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: 246
students, LABOUR: 196 students, SELF-EMPLOYMENT: 44 students, ACADEMIC: 202 students. It is
considered as approximation that the number of answers have the same proportion as the percentage
of the learners that meet each condition.
As it has been said, in each of these areas, students will choose 5 skills or content (complementary
skills, basic skills and subjects) considered most important will be requested with this procedure we
obtain the following table (Fig. 3).
The codes used are as follows, POS: Position, COD: Code, CS: Complementary Skill, BC: Basic
Competence, S: Subject (academic content), SELF-EMP: Self-employment
The results are shown in Fig. 3 as follows:
In the first four data columns data is shown in absolute values. Those shaded in green are values that
correspond to the first third, in yellow those in the second third and red those in third third, calculated
from each third of the maximum value of each column, value given in the bottom of each one.
The next four data columns is weighted over 100 the data of the previous four columns. Are shaded in
green those results that are above the average of each column, value indicated at the bottom of each
one.
In the last column the sum of the previous four columns (weighted values) is performed. The order of
the table is calculated according to the said sum of values. Is shaded in green those figures higher
than average the data of the said column (which is shown in the bottom).

COMPLEMENTARY SKILL,

POS COD BASIC COMPETENCE OR SUBJECT


1 1CS
2 1S
3 2CS
4 3CS
5 4CS
6 5CS
7 6CS
8 7CS
9 8CS
10 9CS
11 10CS

PERSONAL
DEVELOPMENT

Capacity to organize and to


Manage the time
Academic knowledge in English
Capacity to take responsibility
Motivation to reach goals
Motivation to work
Work responsibility
Capacity to take decisions
Capacity to generate new ideas
Capacity to work in team
Ability to social relations
Effective negotiation and conflict solve
Ability to communicate orally and
Written in Castilian

12 1BC
13 11CS Capacity to solve problems

Ability to find, organize an manage

14 12CS The information


15 13CS Specific knowledge of the job
16 2BC Capacity to learn to learn

Ability to communicate orally and

17 3BC Written in English


18 14CS Capacity to coordinate
19 15CS Capacity to adapt to new situations
20 16CS
21 17CS
22 4BC
23 20CS
24 5BC
25 2S
26 21CS
27 3S

Capacity to apply the knowledge to


Practical situations
Capacity to control the stress
Autonomy and personal initiative
Concern about quality and improvement
Basic ability to use the computer
Academic knowledge in mathematics
Capacity to organize and plannificate
Academic knowledge of the subject
World of work
Academic knowledge of the subject
Castilian

28 4S
29 22CS Capacity for analysis and synthesis

Competence to solve mathematics

30 6BC Problems

Ability to communicate orally and


Written in Valenciano

31 7BC
32 24CS Capacity to act with a professional ethic
33 5S
34 6S

Academic knowledge of the subject


Valenciano
Academic knowledge of the subject
Technology
Academic knowledge of the subject
Human body and health

35 7S
36 8BC Social and citizen competence
37 8S
38 9S

Academic knowledge of the subject


History
Academic knowledge of the subject
Geography
Academic knowledge of the subject
Biology and geology

39 10S
40 9BC Artistic and cultural competence

Academic knowledge of the subject


Chemist
Competence of interaction with the
42 10BC Scientific and technical world
Academic knowledge of the subject
43 12S Physics
Academic knowledge of the subject
44 13S Ecology and environment

41 11S

LABOUR SELF-EMPL

PERSONAL
DEVELOPMENTLABOUR

ACADEMIC

SELF-EMPL

ACADEMIC

SUM

64
83
41
85
53
46
43
27
43
39
23

64
45
89
31
52
51
42
31
56
47
35

18
8
13
10
8
8
9
15
6
9
13

89
62
36
39
38
26
27
25
22
14
14

75,29
97,65
48,24
100,00
62,35
54,12
50,59
31,76
50,59
45,88
27,06

71,91
50,56
100,00
34,83
58,43
57,30
47,19
34,83
62,92
52,81
39,33

100,00
44,44
72,22
55,56
44,44
44,44
50,00
83,33
33,33
50,00
72,22

41
33

19
32

9
7

27
25

48,24
38,82

21,35
35,96

50,00
38,89

30,34 149,92
28,09 141,76

37
20
46

18
33
22

3
8
4

44
19
19

43,53
23,53
54,12

20,22
37,08
24,72

16,67
44,44
22,22

49,44 129,86
21,35 126,40
21,35 122,41

46
14
35

12
29
33

5
6
3

22
30
16

54,12
16,47
41,18

13,48
32,58
37,08

27,78
33,33
16,67

24,72 120,10
33,71 116,10
17,98 112,90

30
35
25
30
32
32
11

23
17
19
17
8
9
15

3
3
7
6
3
2
4

28
26
10
11
28
24
24

35,29
41,18
29,41
35,29
37,65
37,65
12,94

25,84
19,10
21,35
19,10
8,99
10,11
16,85

16,67
16,67
38,89
33,33
16,67
11,11
22,22

31,46
29,21
11,24
12,36
31,46
26,97
26,97

109,26
106,16
100,88
100,09
94,76
85,84
78,98

12

12

14,12

7,87

22,22

13,48

57,69

17
14

6
5

1
1

19
23

20,00
16,47

6,74
5,62

5,56
5,56

21,35
25,84

53,65
53,49

10

10

11,76

3,37

11,11

11,24

37,48

13
6

3
4

1
2

7
5

15,29
7,06

3,37
4,49

5,56
11,11

7,87
5,62

32,09
28,28

10

11,76

6,74

0,00

8,99

27,50

8,24

2,25

5,56

7,87

23,90

8
7

2
2

0
1

8
4

9,41
8,24

2,25
2,25

0,00
5,56

8,99
4,49

20,65
20,53

11

12,94

1,12

0,00

5,62

19,68

7,06

2,25

0,00

5,62

14,92

3
6

0
1

1
0

4
4

3,53
7,06

0,00
1,12

5,56
0,00

4,49
4,49

13,58
12,68

3,53

2,25

0,00

6,74

12,52

7,06

1,12

0,00

3,37

11,55

3,53

1,12

0,00

3,37

8,02

2,35

2,25

0,00

2,25

6,85

2
Max.
Value

2
Max.
Value

85

0
Max.
Value

89

Max.
Value
18

Mean
89

30,96

100,00
69,66
40,45
43,82
42,70
29,21
30,34
28,09
24,72
15,73
15,73

347,20
262,32
260,91
234,21
207,92
185,08
178,12
178,02
171,56
164,42
154,34

Mean
Mean
Mean
Mean
22,96
25,76
22,47 102,15

Figure 3: Complementary skills (yellow), Basic competences (orange), and subjects (blue) for each
dimension (personal development, labour, self-employment, and academic).

We can notice that there is, among students, a high valuation of the complementary skills, a moderate
rating for basic competences and low valuation of the contents (subjects) taught nowadays.

CONCLUSIONS

Due to the high level of unemployment of students from adult centres (62,9%) and their main objective
(to change / improve / find work or set up a business), it can be concluded that training for employment
issues should be and element to develop seriously in the curriculum of adult education.
As it was seen, it is reported a medium involvement of schools in their preparation for working life,
which should be improved if we focus on the training needs the students require from their adult
centres.
The results from the comprehensive survey completed suggest that training for their professional (or
entrepreneur) development should be included in the curriculum of the secondary education for adults,
which confirms the studies (mainly university) that recommend the inclusion of complementary skills in
the academic curriculum. In this aspect, students have a very high valuation of the complementary
skills compared with the subjects (except English) taught at present, which make them be the most
suitable content for their professional development.
Certain basic competences (such us competence of knowledge and interaction with the physic world,
cultural and artistic competence, social and citizenship competence,.....), as it can be seen on Fig. 3,
have a very low valuation, which would require a more thorough study on the subject before including
them in the curriculum of adult education.
Also seen in the results both a specific subject for professional (or entrepreneur) development and the
need for a personal consultation in these fields are requested. As there is already a specific subject
(World of work) for labour contents, a possible solution would be to reform its content, make it taught
by specialized teachers and more time dedicated to it. These specialized teachers could act as advisor
for professional development or entrepreneurship, serving efficiently and effectively the demands
made by the students.

REFERENCES
[1] Decreto 220/1999, de 23 de noviembre, del Gobierno Valenciano, por el que se regulan los
programas formativos que figuran en la Ley 1/95, de 20 de enero, de la Generalitat Valenciana,
de formacin de personas adultas, y se establece el currculo de los programas de alfabetizacin
y programas para adquirir y actualizar la formacin bsica de las personas adultas hasta la
obtencin del ttulo de Graduado en Educacin Secundaria, en la Comunidad Valenciana. (DOGV
18/02/2000). [On-line]. Consulted January 20th 2014, from
http://www.docv.gva.es/portal/portal/2000/02/18/pdf/2000_969.pdf
[2] Goleman, D. (1998). Working with Emotional Intelligence. Nueva York: Bantam Books. (Trad.
Cast. Kairs, 1999)
[3] Palac, F.J., Moriano, J.A. (2003). El nuevo mercado laboral: estrategias de insercin y desarrollo
profesional. Madrid: UNED.
[4] Rodriguez-Trujillo, N. (1999, junio). Seleccin efectiva de personal basada en competencias.
Document presented at the XXVII PanAmerican Congress of Pyschology. Caracas, Venezuela.
[5] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), (2002). Definition and
Selection of Competences (DeSeCo): Theoretical and conceptual foundations. Strategy paper of
directorate for education, employment, labour and social affairs. Education Committee. Consulted

January 12th 2014, from


http://www.deseco.admin.ch/bfs/deseco/en/index/02.parsys.34116.downloadList.87902.Download
File.tmp/oecddesecostrategypaperdeelsaedcericd20029.pdf .
[6] Gonzlez, J., Wagenaar, R. (Eds.) (2003). Tuning educational structures in Europe. Informe final.
Fase Uno. Bilbao (Espaa): University of Deusto and University of Groningen.
[7] Declaracin de Bolonia (1999). Declaracin conjunta de los Ministros Europeos de Educacin
reunidos en Bolonia, junio 1999. Consulted April 5th 2014, from
http://www.uah.es/universidad/espacio_europeo/documentos/declaracion_bolonia.pdf .
[8] Eurydice (2002). Key competences: A developing concept in general compulsory education.
Consulted January 4th 2014, from http://www.see-educoop.net/education_in/pdf/compulsary-eduoth-enl-t05.pdf
[9] European Comission (2005). Propuesta de recomendacin del Parlamento Europeo y del Consejo
sobre las competencias clave para el aprendizaje permanente. COM (2005) 548 final/2005/0221
(COD) p. 15.
[10] Ariza, J.A. (2001). Competencias emocionales y mercado de trabajo: Un enfoque emprico.
Estudios financieros. Revista de trabajo y seguridad social: Recursos humanos, 220, pp. 172-202
[11] Agencia Nacional de Evaluacin de la Calidad y Acreditacin (ANECA). Informe ejecutivo
REFLEX (2007, June). El profesional flexible en la Sociedad del Conocimiento. Ministerio de
Educacin y Ciencia, Madrid. Consulted January 20th 2014, from
http://www.aneca.es/var/media/151847/informeejecutivoaneca_jornadasreflexv20.pdf
[12] Torres, M., Paz, K. (2014). Tamao de una muestra para una investigacin de mercado.
Universidad Rafael Landvar. Consulted April 5th 2014, from http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tama
%C3%B1o_de_la_muestra

APPENDIX 1
The most common formula for sample size is:

k2 N p q
2
2
e (N 1)+ k p q

where:
N: is the size of the population or universe (total number of potential respondents).
k: is a constant that depends on the level of confidence we assign.
e: is the desired sampling error, as an integer.
p: proportion of individuals possessing the characteristic in the population studied.
q: proportion of individuals who do not have that feature, ie is 1-p.
n: sample size.

Torres, M., Paz, K. (2014)

In the current study, and taking the values of:


n = 250 surveys
k = 1.96. Confidence level of 95% [12]
N = 5974. population under study.
p = q = 0.5
The value of the sampling error, over one, it would be 0.0606749. It means, 6% maximum.
If we increase the confidence level to 97.5% (k = 2.24), the value of the sampling error would be 6.9%
max.
It has to be noted that the study is conducted in the last month of the academic year, when most of the
students have dropped out. So this smaller number of students will determine, having chosen a
sample of 250 students, a sampling error even lower.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication
(communication) reflects the views only of the author. The Commission is not responsible for the use
made of the information contained therein.

También podría gustarte