The role of women in rural areas of Thailand in promoting lifelong education.

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Sungsri, S.
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Working Papers
Lifelong learning , Rural Thailand , Rural women , Lifelong learning , Barriers
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The purposes of this study were to 1. seek general information about rural women 2. study rural women's role in promoting lifelong education to their children and their communities 3. find out what enables rural women to promote lifelong education and what prevents them from doing so 4. identify guidelines for encouraging rural women to better promote lifelong education to their children and their communities. The study sample comprised 560 rural women aged between 20 and 70 years. The sample was obtained from eight provinces throughout the country, two provinces from each region, using a stratified random sampling technique. Another four groups of women in four communities were also studied in depth. The groups, each consisting of 10 to 15 women, were selected from four different regions of the country. The instruments for collecting the data were a questionnaire for all 560 rural women, an interview format for the four women's groups and a community survey form for surveying the four communities. The quantitative data from 499 returned and completed questionnaires were analysed by frequency, percentage, mean, and standard deviation and were compared by t-test, f-test and scheffe test. The qualitative data from interviewing the four women?s groups and from surveying the four communities were analysed by content analysis. Findings 1. General information about rural women: Most rural women in this study were between 31 and 40 years of age. Most of them were agriculturists. They earned their living in agriculture with a monthly income of 2000 to 4000 baht. More than half had finished Grade 4 or Grade 6. Most were married with two to three children and their children still lived with them. 2. Rural women's role in promoting lifelong education for their children and their communities: The study found that most rural women were not familiar with the term 'lifelong education'. They were familiar with the types of lifelong education. They knew about formal education best and then about non-formal education. Not many of them knew about informal education. When women were asked to evaluate their role in promoting lifelong education as a whole, most of them stated that they promoted lifelong education at a moderate level. 3. Factors enabling women to promote lifelong education: Rural woman in the individual category stated knowledge as most important for their children and relatives. They also wanted people in their communities to gain knowledge. They liked education and they believed that it was their duty to support learning for their children and communities. Women in the women's groups stated that the factors enabling them to promote lifelong education were a formal group structure with good administration, (which would enable all members to participate) having a sense of belonging to the community, having a good, self-sacrificing leader and receiving support from concerned agencies. 4. Problems prevented women from promoting lifelong education: Rural women stated that the main obstacle was that they did not have any information as to where, when, how and by whom each type of education would be offered. Also, they did not have knowledge about lifelong education. They did not know to whom they could promote lifelong education and how they could promote it. 5. Guideline for encouraging rural women's role in promoting lifelong education: Suggestions from women in both individual and group categories included the following: - Women should be motivated to recognise the importance of lifelong education. - Women should be encouraged to have direct experience of each type of education, so that they know and understand lifelong education in every aspect. - They should be taught how to promote lifelong education, and to whom. - They need to be given self-confidence that they have the ability to promote lifelong education. - Rural women needs support to form groups that will enable them to (i) have more power to run activities (ii) follow up on activities (iii)ask for advice and support from related agencies (iv) help individual women participate in every step of group activities.
Sungsri, S. (2003). The role of women in rural areas of Thailand in promoting lifelong education (Working Papers No. 1-03). Lower Hutt, New Zealand: The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
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