Meaning Of Adult Education

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Like adult education is defined in many different ways, its purposes are discussed in different contexts. A key underlying assumption of this paper is that adult education can be utilized for different purposes in different societies as implied by different definitions of adult education. Knowles (1980) illustrates three different meanings of adult education: “In its broadest sense, it (adult education) describes a process – the process of adults learning. In its more technical meaning, it describes a set of organized activities carried on by a wide variety of institutions for the accomplishment of specific educational objectives. A third meaning combines all of these processes and activities into the idea of a movement or field of social practice …show more content…
The same is true of adult education. Adult education is itself often conceived of as a movement (Holford, 1995; Martin, 1999). Actually, adult education has a long history related to social change and social movement (Cervero, Wilson, & Associates, 2001). And adult education is considered one of transformative learnings for consciousness-raising, and adult education programs, in particular adult literacy programs, can be used as a political act and as an act of knowledge within the process of national reconstruction (Torres, 2009). Taking a more radical stance, Freire (1970) argues that acquisition of literacy skills of reading, writing and arithmetic are not an end itself; literacy is more of a means to construct the conditions for attainment of critical consciousness about one’s social reality. Freire mainly relates the purpose of adult education to social change and/or social movement, basically because he is more concerned about the non-formal, less structured educational system in which the dispossessed- and oppressed-centered adult education is …show more content…
There are three types of demands and support for adult education: individual demand, employer demand and support for adult education, and public policy’s role in adult education. This paper regards these demands as the purposes of adult education because it is possible to understand adult education in a broader context, i.e., individuals participate in adult education programs with specific purposes, and similarly providers (e.g., employers, higher education institutions, and governments) offer adult education programs with specific purposes. According to Desjardins and Rubenson (2013), a key rationale of individuals for investing in adult education is “to develop and maintain competencies that have personal, economic and social value” (p. 266); employers are “most interested in investing to upgrade the job-related skill of their employees who already have a good level of proficiency in key foundation skills” (p. 269); and a key role for public policy in adult education is “to make sure that public demand not aligned with employer demand is satisfied so as to foster a good and flexible skill base for rapidly growing knowledge-economies” (p. 270). Economic payoffs that adult education offers are an incentive to participate in adult education. In this context, adult education is

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