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An assessment of the effect of adult education on sustainable development in Jamaica.
Ph. D. Florida Atlantic University
Abstract: An assessment of the knowledge and the behaviors associated with sustainable development was conducted to determine the effect of adult education on sustainable development in Jamaica. The discourse for leadership commitment and governance, as well as continuous learning has its tenets in the discovery that the programs do not significantly address sustainable development (SD). While knowledge was significantly addressed, the programs failed to motivate useful action. The study has provided an explanation of the barriers, costs, and limits to sustainability so that program planners can devise transfer of learning strategies that foster adaptation and mitigation. The investigation involved 35 adult educators and 84 trainees from four programs of the premier adult and continuing learning facility in Jamaica. Both groups agreed that the programs addressed the knowledge, but not the behaviors associated with SD, despite the fact that all three dimensions of SD were addressed in an almost equitable manner. The requirements for achieving SD were met by 7% of the respondents, while the percentage of respondents that achieved environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and social responsibility was 15%, 16%, and 13%, respectively. The six measures correlated highly with the SD variable and were significant. However, there were no significant differences across the groups. Instructors and trainees agreed that knowing about the concerns of SD had not changed their thinking and behavior. On average, the principles of sustainability were not applied. Although hospitality programs were more effective than agriculture, construction and automotive programs in addressing the content on environmental sustainability, no program paid attention to transfer of learning. Cronbach's alpha for the survey instrument was .973. Although instructors were applauded for identifying SD concerns with learners, the sample mean was 38.84% with a standard deviation of 12.24. In all three dimensions, the mean for knowledge exceeded 50%, but fell below 25% for behavioral outcomes. These results are not generalizable. They have implications for instructional leadership and for curriculum design and development across the Caribbean. Additional assessments of higher-level adult learners in the select facility and in other specialized training programs are needed for the validation of these findings.