Friday, November 19, 2010




In this study, we will exray the administration and management of Adult Education in Nigeria from 1974 when the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria became involved in the program. We will study the history of Adult Education in the country. We will also try to find out the extent to which the Federal, State and Local Governments are concerned and the strategies they apply in the administration and management of adult education program in the country. It will however, be necessary that we conceptualized some operational terms in the study which include adult education, administration, management and strategy.

ii. Concept of Adult:
Nzeneri in his handbook on adult education principles and practices described adult as a person who is physically and psychologically mature and who is socially, economically and politically responsible. In his words, physical maturity implies that the adult is cable of being a parent, picking a life partner, raising a family and managing a home. In some communities an adult is known by his years of age. Some say that adulthood starts at 14 years of age. To some others one is an adult when he is up to 18 years old.
To Professor T. U. Ume, an adult is not known by his age or physical and psychological maturity but by the circumstances in which h he or she finds herself. In this case boy of 14 years may be a more adult than another of 20 years.

iii. Education:
To some scholars the term education means simply approves of learning which start from the cradle to the grave. Okafor, F. C. (1987) defined education to embrace all experiences through which an individual acquires knowledge or ideas, develops his intellect and strengthens his will.

iv. Adult Education
We can see the relevance of experience in Ume’s definition and that of Okafor. Using the definition of adult by Ume and education by Okafor, we can say that adult education is just a process by which a mature person acquires knowledge, ideas, etc. Some other scholars saw adult education as comprehensive term describing not merely literacy education but non-formal, out-of school education and training.
At this point we will need to see adult education from the perspective of UNESCO’s position as written by Nzeneri. According to him, United Nations Economic Social and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) explained adult education to mean: The entire body of organized educational process, whether the content, level and methods, whether formal or otherwise, whether they prolong or replace initial education in the schools, colleges, or universities as well as in adult by the society whereby persons regarded as adult by the society to which they belong develop their abilities, enrich their knowledge, improve their technical or professional qualifications and bring about changes in their attitude or behaviour in the two fold perspective of full personal de development and participation in balanced and independent social, economic and cultural development.
Based on the above presentations, we now posit adult education to mean a process by which a matured member of a society acquires knowledge and skills to make himself relevant in his community.

v. Administration
Okoli and Onah defined administration as the activities of groups cooperating to accomplish common goals. Continuing, asserted that administration is a proves common to all group effort, public or private, civil or military, large-scale or small scale. Since administration is conceived within patterns of cooperative behaviour, any person engaged in an activity in cooperation with other persons is engaged in administration.

vi. Management:
Many scholars use the terms management and administration interchangeably. Nwachukwu in his management theory and practice posited management as getting things done through others. Scientifically, he went further to describe management as the co-ordination of all the resources of an organization through the process of planning, organizing, directing and controlling in other to attain organizational objectives.
We can therefore define management as the process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling the efforts of organizational member and using all other organizational resources to achieve some set goals.

vii. Purpose of Adult Education:
According to Nzeneri, the purpose of adult and non-formal education of the Nigerian National Policy on Education include:
1. To produce functional literacy education for adults who have never have the advantage of any formal education.
2. To provide functional and remedial education for those young people who prematurely developed out of the formal school system.
3. To provide further education for different categories of completers of the formal education system in order to improve their basic knowledge and skills.
4. To provide in-service on-the-job vocational and professional training for different categories of workers and professionals in order to improve their skill.
5. To give the adult citizens of the country necessary aesthetic, cultural and civic education for public enlightment.
The above purposes of adult education reveal general and broad educational goals for the nation as they reflect or relates to the needs, interests and aspirations of the nation.

(i) History of Adult Education in Nigeria
The history of adult education in Nigeria dates back to the 40’s. In his book titled Literacy Education in Nigeria, Aderinoye wrote on page 7 that Holy Trinity Anglican School started evening classes in Kano in 1940. Continuing, he informed us that experiments in community development and literacy began in Udi in 1942 with Chadwick, E. R. as the organizer. He also wrote that as far b ack as 1958 before our independence in 1960, an association known as Adult Education Students Association had been formed. The association constituted what was called an interim Committee in their conference at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The Committee was charged with the preparation for launching of a national body and a constitution to be examined in a conference proposed to hold at University of Ibadan in December 1967. Unfortunately, the civil crisis in the country made the realization of their dream impossible until 1971 when the Association was transferred into a National body called Nigerian National Council for Adult Education (NNCAE). The aim of the council was to achieve 100% literacy rate in Nigeria.
In the same 1971, Chief A. Y. Eke as the Minister for Education called for a ten year 1974 – 1984 mass literacy campaign and served as the founding chairman of the National Mass Education Commission. Following the pressure as the federal government for recognition of the discipline of Adult Education, a unit called Adult Education was created at the Federal Ministry of Education in 1974. This is why many scholars in Adult Education class that the history of the field in Nigeria should be dated 1974.
The administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari i9n 1982 following call by the United Nations Economic Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for total eradication ofilliteracy from the world declared 1982 – 1992 as a ten year mass literacy campai8gn period. In 1987, the Federal Government directed all State Governments in the Federation to establish adult and non-formal education agencies to execute literacy education. In 1990 a decree was promulgated establishing a National Mass Literacy Commission.
To buttress the unseasoned effort of our government to respond to the global merely towards Education For All (EFA) in line with the United Nations declaration, the Universal Basic Education was launched on September 20, 1999

(ii) Strategies Applied to Promote Adult Education, Literacy and
Non-Formal Education in Nigeria:

Since the birth of adult and non-formal education in the country, a good number of strategies have been put in force to enable the country to reduce the shameful level of illiteracy in her geometrically growing population. Such strategies include conferences, workshops, use of facilitators in adult education centers, Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOS), Mass Media, etc.
(a) Conferences/Workshops:
The use of conferences as strategies in the administration of adult and non-formal education in Nigeria dates back to a period before the Nigerian civil war, and to be precise in April 1966 in University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Most of the non formal adult education activities in the country have been by organization of conferences and workshops. Unfortunately, the workshops are usually for the organizers, committee members, board; members and all of them one highly literate. The target group will have no idea of such conferences because they are really slated to hold in cities and Universities outside the interior areas where the majority of the illiterate, jobless, despondent adults reside
(b) Adult Education Centers.
Most Adult Education Centers in the country are set up in Universities and cities and they are the places where the conferences are usually held. The illiterate populations do not have the opportunities to be near these institutions. They cannot find it even if they are aware of such programmes.
(c) Non-Governmental Agencies:
The efforts of the government in the promotion of Adult Education in Nigeria have been complemented by Non-Governmental Organization (NGOS). However, we all know that we hardly invest where we will not maximize profit. This is why the action of the n0on-governmental agencies has not made outstanding impact on adult education development in Nigeria.
(d) Universal Basic Education (UBE):
This is a big weapon in the hands of the federal government to drastically reduce the level of illiterate adults in the population. It is primarily for school age citizens but if the youth will not be allowed to grow into adult as illiterates then ;the population of illiterate adults will go down to below 20% in no long time.
(e) The Mass Media:
The role of the press in the dissemination of information in general and in the administration of adult education cannot be overemphasized. That was why Jones Babatunde wrote in 1975 saying that the press has the high ability to be used to keep people informed adequately of the world in which they live and can therefore be used as a direct instrument of education. The mass media can stimulate a nations capacity to create future wealth enlighting the “human” factor, such as improved skill and better education
Take the Daily Times Group of Companies for instance, they print and publish several newspapers and magazines. The company continues to explore the Nigeria’s. newspapers market not merely because of its desire as a mass communication medium to inform, entertain and enlighten the public.
The t4elevision serves as a wonderful strategy in adult education programme in Nigeria. They are used to feature programmes aimed at educating men, women, youth and children in domestic services. Agtric extention workers use it to educate millions of people on agricultural production. On health, it is used to educate the public on the implications of refuse dump near residential homes, etc.

The factors which militate against the successful administration in Nigeria are uncountable. We will examine only a few of such problems. In a meeting of the stake holders on effective implementation of non-formal education programmes in Nigeria held at Sharon Ultimate Hotel, Abuja on March 11, 2010 the following observations were made:
i) Inadequate Funding:
That inadequate funding is a great impediment to the implantation of adult and non-formal education programmes in states.
ii) No Proper Attention:
Most state governments are not given adequate attention to the programme.
iii) Poor Professional Development:
Poor professional development resulting to pr4edominantly unskilled manpower in adult and non-formal education sector is a big problem
iv) Lack of Accurate Date:
Lack of accurate and accurate data on adult and non-formal education leads to poor planning and implementation in the sub-sector
v) In Active Involvement:
National Mass Education Commission (NMES) Zonal Offices are not actively involved in dissemination of information and coordination of all activities of the member states.
vi) States are Weak:
The State Agencies Boards are all weak or are non-existence, thereby denying Agencies of the political will they would otherwise have been enjoying.
vii) We cannot conclude on the problems of adult and non-formal education in Nigeria without mentioning the problem of general poverty. This makes it difficult for most illiterate adults who need functional education to own television sets and even radio sets.
viii) The conferences, seminars and workshops for the adult and non-formal education are organized in the cities and Universities where the client adults do not have the opportunity to attend. Worse still these conferences are organized for the association members, the members of the educational boards and all of them are reasonably literate.

i) Conclusion:
A look at the processes of administration of adult and non-formal education in Nigeria will reveal to us that the programme has not made reasonable contribution towards eradication of illiteracy in he country.
The recent disclosure by the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) that 46,340,000 Nigerians are illiterate is highly disturbing considering the funds and efforts that the country devoted to various mass literacy programme including the Universal Primary Education (UPE) Scheme which was launched in 1976 and Universal Basic Education (UBE) launched in 1999. It is embracing too to believe that 33.12 of the140 million population of Nigeria still wallow in illiteracy keeping Nigeria’s literacy level at 66.96 while Solvania literacy population is put at 99.7% and Cuba, Poland Estonici’s. Literacy rate are put at 99.8% of their entire population. One will agree with us that the programme fails in Nigeria because it is not geared towards the needs of the people concerned (the illiterates). Unlike LIFE, a UNESCO’S initiative which seeks to find out what the educational needs of the illiterates are in their local communities in our own programmes, we do not even care to find out what the developmental needs of our clients are.

ii) Recommendations
Following the presentations above, we will make the following recommendations which can help to improve the administration of adult and non-formal education in Nigeria.
1. The Federal and State Governments should ensure the proper service ;of their radio stations. They should also budget for and install effective e and durable gardgets in these stations
2. These governments should also ensure that their television stations are lively.
3. Functional literacy program should be built in to the radio and television programs preferably from 7 p.m when people should be at home to listen to the program
4. Nigeria should cling to the UNESCOS Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE). This will save us from the embarrassment of trying to train people on what they do not cherish.
In one NMEC’s quarterly newsletter of May 2010 , page 16, LIFE was described as a program that can help us. The programme first of all will ascertain from the people what their developmental needs are. By that you will see the anxious to list what their developmental needs are. In Kano State for instance and specifically Dawakin Kudu, girls demanded ground oil extracting machine while men clarmoved for farming inputs.

5 The federal government according to the newsletter made a budget of N96 million naira for adult and non-formal education in the country and that the many has been released. Announcing the4release of N2.6 million naira each to the States and the Federal Capital Territory FCT the then Minister of State for Education, Hajia Aishatu Duku stated that the greatest challenge any nation can face is having a large number of illiterates in their midst as it touches health, poverty level, child mortality, etc
6 The release of N2.6 million naira to States is commendable but what is N2.6 million naira for even the list state. The government should make a reasonable policy backed with fund with the hope of reducing the shameful level of illiteracy rate in the country.
7 The UPE, UBE, and whatever we may like to call them are commendable programes. But they are not very favourable for functional literacy. If the curriculum for our primary, secondary and tertiary institutions should provide for enterpreneurship as compulsory from primary to university level, it will produce a wonderful result.
8 Our Technical Schools should be graded like Special Science Schools. In this case especially technically gifted children should be encouraged properly. The government of states in charge of these technical colleges should try to see that children sent to these colleges are not only the dropouts from secondary schools.
9 Guidance Councellors should be employed enough in scolls to cncel the children and direct them towards developing their hidden talents.

With the above suggestions, it is hoped that the graph of illiteracy rate in Nigeria will drop sharply in no long time.

Ezeneri, I. S. (2008). Handbook on Adult Education Principles and Practices, New
Edition, Abigab Associates Ltd. Uyo (1 – 6).

Okafor, F. C. (1987). Philosophical base of Adult Education.

Okafor, F. C. and Onah, Fab. O. (2002). Public Administration in Nigeria; Joh Jacobs
Classic Publishers Ltd. Enugu (1 – 3).

Nwachukwu, C. C. (1988). Management Theory and Practice. African-FEP Publishers
Limited Awka, ( 1 – 5).

Nwobi, Uju (2008). Administration of Non-Formal Education Programmes in Nigeria;
Great AP Express Publishers Limited, Nsukka, Nigeria, page 29.

Okedara, J. T. and Standard Ronald (1976): The Role of Adult Education in
Community Development; Copyright NNCAE, Pages 5 – 7.


  1. your write up real help my research on Influence of adult education on women development in Gokana Local Government are of Rivers State. keep it up. you are wonderful.

  2. Good work, i will like to Know you

  3. Please can someone enlighten me on all the job opportunities for anyone that studied adult education?

  4. Am an adult education student but my unit is government

  5. nice research material....keep d fire burning

  6. Am an adult education student from ABU zaria,an i really appreciat it sir.