ABSTRACT: This study examined Adult Education as an Agent for Social Change in Nigeria. The population for the study comprised of 1229 adult learners. The sample size was 100 adult learners of formal and non-formal education selected using simple random sampling technique. Two research questions were formulated to guide the study. The Adult Education as an Agent for Social Change Questionnaire (AEASCQ) was used as an instrument for data collection.
The data collected was analyzed using simple percentage. Findings revealed that adult education contributes positively to individuals and community development through adult literacy; also that adult education contributes to poverty reduction among adult and young people who did not have opportunity to attend school through self-employment in Nigeria. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that formal and non-formal educational setting should be supervised by the state ministry of education to ensure effective delivery of the content of adult education.
Adult Education as an Agent for Social Change in Nigeria
1.1 Background to the study
Adult and non-formal education as defined by United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2007). Adult and non-formal education is more than literacy or remedial education to “fill the gap”. It is something people need and want as long as they are alive and regardless of the amount of their previous education. It is therefore an integral part of any modern country’s educational system. What the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) refers here is to clear the misconception in the minds of people who think that adult and non-formal education is restricted, to literacy and remedial education to fill the gap. Adult education is needful for all categories of people starting from 18 years and above regardless of your previous education and position attained in the society. It is a lifelong process as long as man’s existence.
Adult education cannot be left out when talking about mass literacy, adult and non-formal education and social development. However, an adult in this case is someone, in the Nigerian context, who is mentally, physically, socially and psychologically mature and who is able to manage his own affairs. Adult education therefore has to do with the ability of an individual adult (man or woman) to read, write and communicate in known languages, as well as the ability to do basic Mathematical computations far beyond basic literacy level.
In simple terms, adult education is a tool that can equip the individual to improve himself intellectually, to empower himself economically and to make himself socially and politically relevant. If adult education is considered as a tool and its component also put into consideration which are; reading, writing, mathematics, English as a second or other language (ESOL) and cultural literacy, the goals of mass literacy, adult and non-formal education will be achieved with ease (Ugiri, 2014).
Adult education is divided into two; basic adult literacy and functional literacy programmes (Ezimah, 2004). The reasons for greater emphasis on adult education at present are glaring, especially with the global attention and policy statement encapsulated in Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education for All (EFA) goals. It is evident that adult citizens are more actively involved in national development, transformation agenda and the Millennium Development Goals. Hence, this category of citizens deserves serious attention so that they cannot only contribute to the socio-economic and political growth of the nation but also to improve their welfare and life expectancy. Also, adult education program where it is well planned and effectively implemented would motivate knowledge-hungry adults to aspire to greater heights in academics and vocational training; a situation that ultimately engenders lifelong education.
Moreover, today, the word emphasizes the concept of Education For All (EFA). In giving a suitable definition of adult education, Udo (2012) asserted that adult education is any educational programme aimed at improving either the cognitive, psychomotor or affective domain of individuals who are recognized by the society as adults. In the view of bringing change to individual and society which is the aim of adult education, Inyang (2015) sees it as “some specific functional training/vocational programme required by adults (who now constitute the illiterate, unskilled, semi-skilled or semi-professional labour force) to remedy not only their educational deficiencies but also to meet the needs of their various occupations whether as farmers, artisans or employees of corporate/private organizations”.
The wealth of a country is dependent not so much upon its natural resources and material capital; it is determined in a significant degree by the knowledge, skills and motivation of its people. The people here are referred to as adults who integrate those acquired skills in their daily activities for personal development as well as enhancing the societal growth (Obi, 2013). Similarly, Sebates (2008) concludes that participating in adult learning can help substantially to reduce poverty through enhancing employment prospects, improving health levels of poor people and giving enhancement to acquiring the tools needed to run their own lives. This therefore form the background to this study to investigate the effect of adult education on social development.
Adult Education as an Agent for Social Change in Nigeria
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Adult and non-formal education is the education people need as long as they are alive and regardless of the amount of their previous education, and it is an integral part of any modern country’s educational system. Adult education is needful for all categories of people starting from 18 years and above regardless of your previous education and position attained in the society. It is a lifelong process as long as man’s existence which is intended to help its recipients to be gainfully employed and earn higher income and higher status. In fact, it helps its beneficiaries to make use of the computer, internet and e-mail for more information and connections.
However, despite the central role of Adult and non-formal education in the development of the citizenry, there has been a misconceptions that attracts the attention of many researchers, Udo (2009) is of the view that Adult education lead to the growth and development of the society while Chu (2014) asserts that “adults and youths participation in vocational training and workshops facilitates renewal of knowledge and promote greater efficiency in the promotion of mass literacy.
Moreover, despites promotion of mass literacy and development of the individual, adult education is given to youth and adults based on their social, political, cultural and economic needs and problems to enable them adjust fully to changes and challenges in their lives and society. The above situations however triggered the researcher to ask could Adult Education programme aid as an instrument for social change? In order to answer this question, there is need to investigate adult education as an instrument of social change in Nigeria.