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Adult Education in a Changing World

Updated on March 8, 2018
Joyette  Fabien profile image

Through her social services background, Joyette has gained insight into social issues affecting people and possible interventions to be mad.

Adult Learner Speaking at Certificate Presentation Ceremony


Adult Education Offers a Second Chance

There is a popular saying, “Education is the Key to Success”; certainly, education opens doors to opportunities, benefits and full participation in all aspects of life and so those who, through adversity, lost opportunities, illness or otherwise, were unable to access at least basic education are at a severe disadvantage in the sense that they are hindered from full participation in social life and enjoyment of a better quality of life. Adult education offers such persons a second chance. As the world changes adult education programming must constantly be modified so as to effectively satisfy the needs of its diverse clientele.


One may ask what adult education is and what exactly it encompasses. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia offers this definition:

“Adult education is a practice in which adults engage in systematic and sustained learning activities in order to gain new forms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values.[1] It can mean any form of learning adults engage in beyond traditional schooling, encompassing basic literacy to personal fulfillment as a lifelong learner.[2] .

Adult Education Programming Must Constantly Expand

One of the primary aims of traditional adult education is to provide functional literacy to enable persons to comprehend basic texts and documents associated with competent citizenship and to assist them in achieving self-reliance and an enhanced standard of living. Its ultimate goal is to provide opportunities which will create positive avenues for learning, offering persons the chance to attain personal and professional development. Adult Education today has expanded to encompass basic literacy, health education, skills training, entrepreneurship, parenting, Information Communications Technology, advanced qualifications and personal fulfillment.

Non-Formal Adult Education Programs to Alleviate Unemployment and Poverty

Formal adult education programs are available at educational institutions all over the world, but are mostly accessible to those who are financially able. However, in many countries, especially developing countries non-formal adult education programs have been developed to cater primarily for the disadvantaged, the less fortunate and those needing a second chance. It is seen as a means of eradicating unemployment and alleviating poverty hence, where fees exist they are usually nominal. These programs generally target the 18 and above demographic; it is conceded that no one is too old to learn. The manifold adult education clients participate in various programs in order to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to function more efficiently at home and in society, to succeed in the workplace, to earn a degree or simply to enrich their lives.

Sewing Module of Adult Education Program


Pastry Making - Exhibition from Culinary Arts Module

Increasing Awareness of the Importance of Adult Education

Adult learning has, over the years, gained prominence as increasingly; people are becoming more aware of the importance of education in positioning them to access services and opportunities and to perform duties that are part of their day to day experiences. Gone are the days when people could rest content in their illiteracy. Modern trends demand that the housewife be able to read labels on items at the supermarket and on medication at the pharmacy; that the farmer be able to read simple directions on chemicals and other products used in his work; that the mechanic be able to read in order to deal with computerized machinery on modern vehicles. Everyone, regardless of age, gender, race or class, needs to be empowered to manage daily living and employment tasks that require basic reading skills and the use of ICTs.

Impact of Technology on Adult Education Programming

Furthermore, in today’s fast paced world, technology has greatly influenced the direction of adult education and ICT has become a vital component of its programming. Technology has made life so much easier for persons are now able to access almost every type of service online. This is an advantage for persons on the move as well as those who are house bound. It is a fact that today almost every business transaction can be done online. One no longer needs to wait in long queues to check in at airports, to pay bills, to do shopping, to obtain information from agencies and organizations, etc. if one is ICT competent.

Modern trends have also made it necessary for persons in receipt of public benefits such as welfare assistance and social security among others, to have a bank account through which their benefits can be paid. A certain level of literacy is needed for these basic bank transactions, for managing one’s account and even for making withdrawals at ATMs.

With the advent of mobile phones, literacy has become an even more pressing need for almost everybody owns a mobile phone. The average man on the street has had to achieve a certain level of literacy in order to perform simple actions such as saving and finding contacts and reading and composing messages. All these modern developments designed to make life easier can be enjoyed by those who are able to read and write and more so, those who are ICT competent.

Adult Literacy Learning Center Equipped With Computers


Globalization and Adult Education

Globalization has also influenced adult education programming in the sense that persons now need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively communicate with friends, family, clients and business associates and partners in different parts of the world via email, social media and other online communication media. Also travelling has become a much more frequent occurrence as people move about from country to country for business, professional or social occasions as well as personal reasons. Travelling is made much easier when one is able to read signs and notices at bus, train or airport terminals and when one can readily access time saving technology at these places.

Adult Education to Keep up With a Changing World

Adult literacy therefore offers adult learners the opportunity to attain personal and professional development, to enhance their marketability, to experience personal fulfillment, to participate meaningfully in social life and to make their contributions to better world societies.

Adult Education for Empowerment

If you need help in advancing yourself personally and professionally would you enroll in adult education classes?

See results

Wne and Punch Making - Promoting Entrepreneurship

© 2015 Joyette Helen Fabien


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