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Adult education and the empowerment of civil society: the case of trade unions in Botswana

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The paper examines the potential role of adult education in the empowerment of civil society in Botswana. It shows that adult education can be instrumental in the empowerment of trade unions as organs of civil society in a liberal democracy. It argues that the country's democratic tradition can be sustained by a strong civil society. The paper traces the history of trade unions in Botswana showing that the state has mostly weakened them through legislation. It is contended that individuals participate in trade unions as their mouthpiece when they are in trouble with capital. Most trade union members reported not being aware of adult education activities in Botswana. The paper explores some of the weaknesses of the unions and suggests how adult education provision from adult basic education to adult and continuing education at the university could help to redress the workers' problems. It concludes by mapping out some practical ways in which adult education could empower the unions in Botswana as it has done elsewhere.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 1999

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