Essay On Adult Education

Education is one of the fundamentals of life. People enrol to adult education programs either to cover up on what they missed during early age or simply to improve on their skills of life. Adult education institutions do a great job in offering these exceptional services. However, these institutions face a myriad of challenges due to the nature of the services that they offer. This paper presents the challenges in adult education in terms of mission of these institutions, structural barriers and funding.

Structural barriers

One of the greatest challenges facing adult education institutions is the great delusion in organizational structure. In most countries adult education programs fall under different ministries or departments. A report by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) argues, “The same program can be supplied by various entities (schools, Community Colleges, Correction, Government agencies, faith based organizations)” (OECD, 2003, p. 21). Bulus notes, “Federal, State and Local Governments, could all run education.

Sometimes, it is not easy to draw a line of demarcation as to who is responsible for what, with each, thinking the other ought to” (Bulus, n.

d. p. 5). These factors among others, makes the management and organization of these institutions difficult to implement. Mission of the institutions Adult education program covers a wide area of services that covers different categories of people. Most of these programs offer, informal, formal as well as non-formal education to people of varying ages.

It is arguably hard if not impossible to have a clearly defined mission for adult education institutions.

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For instance, in U. S “The flow of decisions, financing and information is still more complex when the role of the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services concerning adult education is taken into account” (OECD, 2003, p. 21 ). Unlike in the other education programs where all students are oriented towards a set of common goals, these institutions provide services to individuals with very different needs and objectives. to date, no consensus on central issues of educational policy for adult education has been established in Austria” (GHK, 2011, p 5). Funding Adult education institutions face a great challenge in funding for a wide variety of reasons. These institutions compete for resources with other educational programs such as higher learning. Priority mostly goes to other programs probably due to their direct and measurable results as compared to adult education.

The lack of clearly defined organizational structure suggests that funding platforms are also not clearly defined. According to Bulus, “Education competes with other social sectors for funds. The much given, for the program goes for overheads leaving little for infrastructural costs” (Bulus, n. d. p. 5). Funding policies also pose an inordinate challenge to these institutions. Gonzalez posits that “adult schools must deal with funding policies that hamper their ability to meet their mission of teaching English learners” (Gonzalez, 2007, p. ). A report by ministry of education (MEG) of Ghana also claimed that “Incentives to facilitators and supervisors of ALE programs are inadequate, and still, linger mostly on volunteerism” (MEG, 2008, p. 2). Conclusion It is undeniable that adult education institutions face a myriad of problems. Amongst them, source of funding, structural barrier as well as vague mission poses a great challenge in meeting the core objectives of such institutions. These problems need to be addressed if these programs were to make any meaningful success.


Bulus, I. (n.d) An Analysis of the Problems of Adult Education Program in Plateau State, Nigeria: Implication For Policy Implementation. Retrieved on 8 May 2011 from GHK. (2011). Country Report on the Action Plan on Adult Learning: Austria. Retrieved on 8 May 2011 from González, A. (2007) California’s commitment to adult English learners: caught between funding and need. CA: Public Policy Instit. Print Ministry of Education, Ghana (MEG). (2008) The Development And State Of The Art Of Adult Learning And Education. Retrieved on 8 May 2011

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