Integration of adult education and public health policy
Perry, Helen Noel
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The purpose of this study was to understand the process of forming an integrated adult education and public health policy in Uganda. This qualitative case study examined how adult education strategies were integrated into Uganda’s National Health Strategic Plan. The unit of analysis was the instance of policy formation involving the integration of adult education strategies within Uganda’s National Health Strategic Plan. I analyzed documents that elaborated adult education and public health policy positions stated by international and national entities and conducted interviews with eleven participants involved in formation and implementation of the integrated policy. Three research questions guided this study: (1) What interests shaped the integration of adult education approaches within national public health policy, (2) How were the interests negotiated during the policy making process, and (3) What learning did policy makers need to undertake to effect the integration of these policies? The data analysis employed the constant comparative method of data analysis grounded in perspectives from program planning theory and the advocacy coalition framework. The findings that emerged from the analysis identified multiple interests that influence public policy formation in Uganda. First, policies for improved health and education within the international and national coalitions are conceptually linked to poverty eradication. Second, constitutional stability, increased human resources, socio-cultural cohesion and control of investments were interests involved in decisions about the policy. Third, shared beliefs that bound the coalitions centered on poverty eradication, community self-reliance, and commitments to development. Fourth, with regard to the second research question on how interests were negotiated, institutional and individual power and positionality were persuasive factors in how core beliefs became policy actions. Finally, policy oriented learning centered on methods of implementation and advocacy. Four conclusions were developed from the findings about the process of integrated adult education and public health policy in Uganda: (1) International forces play a major role in guiding public policy in Uganda, (2) Positionality impacts the extent of one’s influence in policy making, (3) Policy negotiation focuses on secondary aspects of the policy rather than core beliefs that bind the policy coalitions, and (4) Learning needs of policy makers center on the means of implementation and resource mobilization. Practical implications and suggestions for further research are also presented.
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