The Role of Adult Education Centres

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” The famous quote of John Dewey simply says it all. Society is dependent on its individuals and education plays an important role in developing communities. Education provides humans with the ability to improve their performance and lifestyle by making informed choices and by forming opinion on political issues concerning themselves. Developed nations invest heavily on education as they realize the importance of providing education to their citizens.

In the UK there are many adult education centres that deal with the education of adults in the workplace, through continuing education courses at colleges, universities or lifelong learning centres. Adult education is often referred to as ‘second-chance’ or ‘training and development’ and many schools offer tailor-made courses and learning programs for the returning learners. Hence, these adult education centres play a vital role in society since education contributes to the development of communities.

Adult education is different from traditional children’s education since adults have accumulated knowledge, and work experience which adds to their learning experience. They often apply their knowledge practically to learn more effectively. For instance in the 1990s when PCs were newly introduced many adults, mostly office workers, enrolled in computer training to learn the basic use of the operating system or specific application software. Most of the adult education centres provide one to one tutoring and small group sessions for adults.

Continuing education is also called further education in the UK, which refers to post-secondary learning activities and programs. The post-secondary learning activities include degree credit courses by non-traditional students, non-degree career training, workforce training, on-campus and online formal personal enrichment courses, self-directed learning through Internet interest groups, clubs or personal research activities, and experiential learning as applied to problem solving. The method of delivery of continuing education can include traditional types of classroom lectures and laboratories.

However, mostly continuing education is offered through distance learning, including videotaped/CD-ROM material, broadcast programming, online/Internet delivery and online Interactive Courses. Continuing education is basically for those adult learners who are beyond the traditional undergraduate college or university age. However, further education assumes adults have basic education and are continuing with their education hence it does not include basic instruction such as literacy, English language skills, or programs such as vocational training.