Adult education is many things: Its meaning and implications

  • H L Mtonga The University of Zambia


Many adult educationists have laboured in an attempt to define what is meant by Adult Education. Some of the definitions are confined much more to the philosophical aspect of the concept, while others restrict themselves to the functional or clientele criterion. Consequently, vital shades of some Adult Education activities are left out of the concept. This paper attempts to bring out together all the different shades of Adult Education by firstly considering the two words ‘Adult’ and ‘Education’ separately. Then, the meaning of Adult Education is further derived at by its function (especially in the Third World), clientele, content and pedagogical aspects. It is then concluded that unlike other professions, ‘Adult Education’ simply means many things; a situation that relegates it to an inferior position.