The use of social marketing to achieve quality education for all

16th September 2022

Author: Dr Celestin Mayombe, School of Professional Studies in Education, North-West University.

Dr Celestin Mayombe photoAdult education and training for what?

There is a need to transform research into practice and policymaking. In developing countries where job opportunities are scarce, disadvantaged adults may lack the motivation to participate in skills training programmes, given the fact that they end in a mere certificate.

Many adult education and training (AET) programmes result in obtaining a formal qualification which poses a problem to those adult learners who may not need a qualification, but rather, livelihood skills for jobs or small businesses. They expect the outcome of the programmes to help them meet their basic needs such as food, housing, clothes and sending their children to school.

In the pursuit of quality education for all, the campaign to motivate adult participation in lifelong education should demonstrate how AET programmes will help disadvantaged people generate income for their families and meet their basic needs.

Achieving quality education for all through social marketing

Dr Celestin Mayombe believes that social marketing efforts can play a role in motivating adult learners to enrol on AET programmes and to acquire livelihood skills for income-generating activities. Social marketing initiatives promote AET programmes and result in attracting large numbers of adults and youth interested in gaining skills for sustainable livelihoods. The research findings revealed that social marketing strategies helped motivate the engagement the adult learners from the recruitment phase to the establishment of their small businesses.

Firstly, during the recruitment campaigns, the result of the social marketing was the success in persuading the prospective adult learners to accept the product which is a skills training programme free of charge and to enrol at AET centres. Adult education managers and facilitators went into the communities, door-to-door motivating disadvantaged people to register for their skills training courses. They informed them about the economic benefits of the skills training for self-employment in micro-enterprises. Secondly, the facilitators used social marketing in their teaching and learning approaches for skills acquisition. The approaches consisted of learning-by-doing and learning by producing, attracting the engagement of the adult learners to acquire skills. Learners acquired the knowledge, skills and competencies necessary to work for others or create small businesses.

Thirdly, social marketing efforts consisted of motivating adult learners to utilise skills in micro-enterprises. Graduates confirmed that they were also encouraged to form business groups, self-help groups or co-operatives while being on the training programmes. Thus, social marketing efforts facilitated a transition from skills acquisition to entrepreneurial ventures. Fourthly, social marketing involved the cooperation of stakeholders in the communities.

Findings suggest that primary and secondary stakeholders were consulted during the social marketing campaigns and were involved in the whole process of the skills training. Stakeholder involvement resulted in the provision of post-training support for employment and small businesses of the graduates.

Application for social policy

The author would like to call policymakers and adult education practitioners to utilise social marketing strategies to promote quality education for all.

The findings reveal that social marketing efforts enhance the effectiveness of AET programmes in reducing unemployment and poverty among disadvantaged community members. The findings demonstrate the need for coordinated campaign activities at the AET centre and regional levels to motivate the engagement of unemployed adults.

Social marketing efforts point to a need to promote, encourage and recognise participation from private and public sectors for joint stakeholder cooperation in achieving Quality Education for All.

This article is also a call to action to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

About the author

Dr Celestin Mayombe is a senior lecturer in the School of Professional Studies in Education, North-West University.

He conducts research on Adult Education and Lifelong Learning among disadvantaged community members in South Africa who have difficulties in generating incomes to become self-sufficient and enjoy a quality of life. He believes that an improvement in the skills of unemployable youths and adults is the key to improving their quality of life.

Through action research and advocacy initiatives, Adult Education and Lifelong Learning programmes have helped many unskilled and disadvantaged adults to acquire marketable skills and become economically active.

our goals

Quality education for all

We believe in quality education for everyone, everywhere and by highlighting the issue and working with experts in the field, we can start to find ways we can all be part of the solution.