Paper Example on Adult Education

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981 words
Harvey Mudd College
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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The adult education system includes programs present in the education system that provide education that ranges from basic numeracy and literacy in addition to English for Speakers of Other Languages to colleges, high school, and other career avenues. There is a necessity of adult education in the United States whereby more than thirty million adults lack high school diplomas while twenty percent of the adults who have the diplomas only contain basic literacy skills (Lindeman, 2015). In an assessment involving adult skills that took place in 2014, the United States was position 16 in literacy skills and twenty-one in numeracy skills from twenty-four countries that took part in the study. Two-thirds of adults in the United States performed dismally on two levels concerning proficiency in problem-solving in environments that are rich in technology (Lindeman, 2015). It is worth noting that the funds set aside for adult education serve about two million young and older adults from an annual perspective. Furthermore, there are waiting lists present in all the fifty states, but the present funding is not enough to cater for the need (Lindeman, 2015). Adult education is significant because of the myriad opportunities that it provides to individuals.

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From a general perspective, in regards to the providers, the education programs of the adults function as independent organizations or sections of municipalities, libraries, school districts, community colleges, multi-service centers, housing developments, unions, faith-based institutions and places of work (Knowles, 2014). The delivery of instructions is mostly done by volunteer teachers and part-time instructors. It is worth noting that most of the teachers providing adult education are not provided with pre-service training after orientation. Therefore, in-service training is important for quality services to be provided. When it comes to funding, the annual expenditure for an individual is $800. However, for the average pupil, the annual expenditure is more than ten thousand dollars for the public elementary education and secondary education. The percentage provided by the state and federal on adult education is less than ten percent and also less than five percent of the amount provided to institutions of higher education (Knowles, 2014).

It is important to understand who make part of the adult learners to comprehend the significance of the system. They include individuals searching for employment, immigrants, and the youth in addition to parents. For individuals in search of employment, by 2011, forty-one percent of individuals receiving an adult education were unemployed, thirty-one percent were employed while the other percentage did not belong to the labor force (Knowles, 2014). It is perceived that the increase in enrollment for adult education is associated with the recession as most of them were laid off from their source of income; making it difficult to acquire new jobs. The relevance of adult education comes into play as it provided individuals with opportunities to increase their skills such that it becomes easier to fit in the profession of their choice. For the youth, it is important to note that a good number of them drop out of school on an annual basis; an estimation of about three million. The drop-outs join the rest of the youth in the community who are not part of the workforce or have enrolled in schools. Therefore, when the youth choose that they need to complete their education, they join institutions that provide adult education (Knowles, 2014).

Immigrants are a significant part of the U.S., and it is estimated that by 2030, one out of five Americans will be an immigrant. Immigrants enroll for adult education in order to acquire skills in the English language (Knowles, 2014). Therefore, adult education provides individuals with opportunities to learn a new language such that they are able to operate efficiently in a new environment. Parents also make part of the population that enrolls for adult education. They make part of the large population of individuals receiving an adult education. The impetus that drives the parents to join adult education is the need to act as role models to their children in addition to being able to provide support to their children such that they become successful in their academic performance. Therefore, adult education provides opportunities to uneducated parents such that they become educated and give maximum support to their children when pursuing their education (Knowles, 2014).

Adult education plays a significant role in economic development. It achieves this by giving individuals opportunities to improve their work skills and hence contributing effectively to economic progress (Usher & Bryant, 2014). Also, adult education allows both parents and children from low-income families to prosper. It is viewed that when parents from poor families receive education, it becomes easier for their children to succeed in their academic endeavors. Adult education also plays a huge role in the development of democracy and in strengthening the community. Individuals who are highly educated tend to earn high wages in addition to paying a large amount of taxes which results in community development. Furthermore, they have low chances of going to prison and become more motivated to take part in the civil environment; exercising rights such as voting and voicing out their demands (Usher & Bryant, 2014).

As stated earlier, Adult education is significant because of the myriad opportunities that it provides to individuals. It is important similarly to any form of education. It gives opportunities to individuals to acquire more skills in relation to their careers and also giving the school drop pout opportunities to complete their studies. It should be highly supported because of the impact that it brings into the lives of individuals.


Knowles, M. S., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (2014). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. New York: Routledge.

Lindeman, E. C. (2015). The meaning of adult education. New York: Ravenio Books.

Usher, R., & Bryant, I. (2014). Adult education as theory, practice and research: The captive triangle. New York: Routledge.

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