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The characteristics of participants in an Indian adult education program Blunt, Adrian

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify and describe certain socioeconomic and socio-psychological characteristics which differentiate the Indian adult education participant from the non-participant, and which collectively contribute to an understanding of Indian adult education participation. The study was conducted on the Mount Currie Indian Reserve in the Pemberton Valley of British Columbia, The analytical survey method was used and data was collected by means of structured interviews with a random sample of eighty-six adult band members. Two hypotheses were tested to determine whether or not there were any statistically significant differences between adult education participants and non-participants with respect to seventeen socio-economic and thirteen socio-psychological variable characteristics. A third hypothesis was tested to determine whether or not there were any significant differences between the variables studied when they were considered simultaneously or independently as predictors of participation. Of the eighty-six respondents, fourty-two had enrolled in an adult education class during the preceding three years and were classed as participants. Statistically significant differences were found between the participants and non-participants with respect to eight of the socio-economic characteristics studied including sex, wish for further adult education participation, social participation, occupational prestige of desired job, occupational prestige of desired vocational training, receipt of educational assistance, receipt of unemployment insurance assistance, and total annual income. Of the socio-psychological characteristics studied, statistically significant differences were found between the participant's and non-participant's levels of alienation, activism, trust, family integration, and attitudes towards education. The most powerful single predictor of participation was found to be alienation, with the least alienated being those most likely to participate. However, five other variables including total annual income, number of children, social participation, trust and integration with relatives when considered simultaneously were found to be more powerful as joint predictors of participation than any single independent variable.

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