A Comparative Analysis of Two Rural Development Programs: Sri Lanka's Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement and Thailand's Functional Literacy Program -- A Participant and Expert Profile

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Arrindell, Nicholas John Jr.
Huden, Daniel
The purpose of this study was to conduct a comparative analysis of two rural development programs: Sri Lanka's Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement and Thailand's Functional Literacy program. The initial aim was to ascertain whether these programs have kept pace with the changing environments and aspirations of their participants. An objective was to investigate the educational component of each program by profiling the opinion of experts and participants who have been involved with either program for a substantial period of time (four years or more). This research project sought to determine whether the philosophical approach employed by each program was helpful to participants with regard to further educational services. This research project also sought to determine whether participants from the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement or Functional Literacy Program have matured beyond the educational parameters (i.e., course offerings, program objectives, mode of delivery, etc.) of their respective programs. A positional-repututional approach was employed to ascertain a population for this study. Indepth interviews where held in the following cities and villages: Bangkok, Columbo, Hennawala, Key Lorn, Makandana, Moratuwa, New York, Sribuangern and Washington, D.C. Of the 81 subjects, 57 were participants who had actually been involved in either the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement or Functional Literacy Program. There were 24 subjects who were considered to have expert knowledge. The data collection process for this study utilized a variety of interviewing techniques. To further analyze the data the use of SPSS Multiple response variable procedure which permitted the use of dichotomous labeling provided frequency distributions and cross tabulations by category. The conclusions show that although the majority of participants benefited from being either rural development programs, participants felt that neither program could accommodate their desire for further educational services. Participant educational choice appears to be strongly influenced by the proximity of a village, local town or urban centers. The philosophical ideals espoused by the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement or Functional Literacy Program had minimal influence on participants with regard to helping encourage further educational pursuit. Moreover, this study shows that older youth and adults can and often do continue to examine their lives through a series of complex decision-making strategies that enable some to pursue new directions.