Adult education: the alpha (α) and omega (Ω) of all education, an inaugural lecture delivered on 31 August 2012
PublisherCentre for Continuing Education, University of Botswana, http://www.ub.bw
Rights holderCentre for Continuing Education, University of Botswana
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Adult Education is the first education that mankind ever benefitted from. It is equally the last education in the life of every human being. In this sense, it is the beginning and end of all education not merely because of the prime chronological position it occupies among all types of education but also because of its significance and inevitability within the context of human learning experience. At creation, the first human being found himself in a strange and unusual environment. He needed education to make sense of his new experience. This first ever education was facilitated at a distance by the Creator Himself; the universe was the non-formal learning environment employed, the contents of this education were made up of survival skills and elements of the universe were employed as learning aids. Thus was born the first ever open and distance learning experience. Beyond this initial educational occurrence, the education undergone by the human fetus, the growing infant, embers of ancient societies (Greek, Africa) and first religious students constitute the string of first types of Adult Education that mankind usually benefit from. Graduation ceremonies, retirement processes, U3A offerings and opportunities for dying well are examples of the manner in which Adult Education offers itself as tool for advancing the various inevitable types of last learning in human beings’ life. Yet, as vital as first and last educations have proven to be to man’s happiness, the major waves of change the world has witnessed (Toffler & Toffler, 2006; UN, 2000; Drucker, 1993; Toffler, 1991a,b,c; Herberman, 1984), have proven that Adult Education has been employed to provide solutions to major human challenges since the dawn of days. In this sense, Adult Education is not merely the first and last educations needed by mankind but it is the Alpha and Omega of all education as beyond being the entry and exit points of human education, it is education that is needed throughout the course of human life. If Adult Education is this important, of what practical benefit could it further be to nations of the earth in general and to Africa in particular? It can help boost the provision of basic education; it can serve as leverage to African universities’ performance and it can assist in advancing African development efforts beyond its present achievement level. Two main policy recommendations have been proffered by way of indicating the manner in which Adult Education may be employed to bring about the possibilities mentioned here.