Adult Education: Discipline Still in Search ofDefinition, Focus, Recognition and Patronagein Nigerian Society


  • Aroge Stephen Talabi Department Of Arts Education, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State,Nigeria.



Adult education, Stakeholders, Contextual, Content-driven, Pragmatic, Discipline.


There is the need to revisit the challenges being faced by and in Adult education in view of what the discipline has been experiencing as a course of study. In spite of its long tenure, scope and usefulness to individuals, groups, corporate bodies, and the society at large, the discipline’s growth and development in Nigeria are, unarguably, at very low ebb. These challenges revolve around its definition, status, recognition and or popularity, acceptance and patronage all of which usually reflect in subscription by candidates seeking admissions in Nigerian tertiary institutions. Adult Education also experiences some measure of non acceptability from already admitted students into its programmes as they make frantic effort to change to other courses of study. This challenging situation is mostly from a number of factors which include: 1) wrong perception of the discipline; 2) lack of understanding of what Adult education is all about; 3) poor attitude toward the concept of Adult Education; 4) activities of its practitioners, especially thinkers and writers within the field; and 5) the non-encouraging attention being paid to it within academic institutions and by the authorities therein. This paper discussed the concept and conception and misconception of Adult Education as a body of knowledge and, as an academic discipline with a view to show-casing how it has been variously defined and described. The paper also examined the variety of nomenclature being given to adult education by different universities as Departments, (where it has at all) in Nigeria. The peculiar experience of the discipline in Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State Nigeria, forms part of the burdens of this paper; while it made some suggestions for consideration by the stakeholders to improve its status, recognition, popularity and patronage for a pride of place within the academic endeavor, particularly in Nigeria.


Adesanya, L. A. (2005): The Concept and Scope of Adult Education Adult and Non-formal Education in Nigeria: Emerging Issues Ibadan, Nigeria National Council for Adult Education. 51 – 54

Baptiste, I. (2001): Educating the lone Wolves: Pedagogical implications of Human Capital Theory. Adult Education Quarterly 51(3): 184-201.

Bryson L.L. (1936): Adult Education in New York American (1997) Books company.

Courtneys (1989): Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education. San Franscisco: Jossey Bass

Fisher, J. and Podeschi (1989): From Linderman to Knowles: A change in vision International Journal of Life Long Education October – December. 8(4) 345-353.

Freire, P. (1972) Pedagogy of the oppressed. London Pengium Books.

Hass, G. (1992) “Entrepreneurial Education”. Canadian Association for University Adult Education Conference Proceedings Ottawa. 29-34.

Hassan, M.A and Oyebamiji, M.A (2012) introduction to Adult Education. Ibadan: Gabesther Education Publishers. 16-23.

Houle, C. (1996): The design of Education (2nd edition) San Francisco Jossey- Bass. 41

Knowles, M. (1980): The Modern Practice of Adult Education; form Pedagory to Andragory; Chicaco Association Press. 25

Linderman, E. (1926) The Meaning of Adult Education. New York. New Republic. 6

Meriam, S. and Brokett, R. (1997): The Profession and Practice of Adult Education. San Franscisco: Jessey Bass. 7

Nyere, J.K. (1987) Adult Education and development in: Hall, B, Kidds, J.R. (eds) Adult Learning. A Design for Action, London Pergamon press.

Peterson, D. (2013) Continuing Education Guide. Accessed through is adult learning. Retrieved 26/5/2013.

UNESCO (1976) Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education, Published in Canada. UNESCO Library 33rd General Conference © San Sebastaian Centre – 1stEdition Nov. 2006.

Verner, C. (1962) Adult Education: Theory and Method: A conceptual scheme for the identification and classification of processes. Washington D.C. Adult Education Association of the U.S.A.