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The National Policy on Education (2004) provides for Adult and non-formal education as an instrument par excellence for lifelong education. Section 6 of the Policy outlines the goals of adult and non-formal education to include providing functional EDUCATION and continuing education for adults and the youths, provide education for different categories of completers of the formal education system to improve their basic knowledge and skills, provide in-service, on-the-job, vocational and professional training for different categories of workers and give adult citizens of the country necessary aesthetics, cultural and civic education for public enlightenment.

Onyenemezu (2003) opined that Adult Education in Nigeria is not just about EDUCATION or remedial education to fill a gap. That it is what is needed and wanted by all as long as they are alive and regardless of previous education. This position is in line with what Nasir (1979) said when he said that Adult Education included many of the subjects learned at school for those who never had the opportunity. Dave (1973) had earlier argued that Adult Education aims at providing lifelong Education that prepares the individual for change and creates dynamic frame of mind in the individual. This is because the world is constantly changing in all spheres including technology, communication and industry. Human’s craving for learning is thus continuous to keep pace with the changes.

Bown and Okedara (1981) rightly described this urge for continuous learning as ‘cradle to grave’. It is hoped that when the individual is equipped through lifelong skills and knowledge, Nigeria’s hope for the realization of the millennium development goals that include eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV / Aids, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development would be enhanced (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2004).

The history of adult education is a hit-and miss story – starting off with strongrhetoric, promises and expectation and concluding in limited success, and even neglect anddisappointment in too many cases. Adult education has been conflated into broader agendaof education and development more at level of discourse than inaction. In the arena of action it has been too often confined to a narrow interpretation of EDUCATION skills (Umar,Eshak, Bichi, &Aujara, 2010). However for most governments in developing countrieswhere financial and human resources are very scarce like Nigeria, adult education is very low when itcomes to given priority to other sub-sectors of education system.

In fact many peoplehave been inhibited by some socio economic, political, cultural and natural factors from benefitting from the right to education (the Universal Declaration of Human rights toEducation). These factors have resulted in a greater number of a nation’s population notreally benefitting from the formal education system. Many people who entered variouslevels of the formal education failed to realize their educational ambitions. It is obviousthat the adults in the society are the most affected by these factors for many of them mayhave dropped out of formal school system either as stark or semi illiterates. The field of adult education is going through a major transition in response to the new economy and the demands and interests of learners in the new economy in the 21st century making it necessary to study the problems and prospects of adult education in Nigeria.


Adult education changes the social and psychological minds of adults more thanany other profession, instills lost hope in them and liberates them from their prejudice of seeing themselves as not being capable of learning. Adult education awakens adult learnersto become aware of their environmental (social, economic, cultural and political) and psychological potentials and hidden abilities. It also exerts enormous influence on thelarger society in terms of national development (Onyenemezu, 2012). A lot of problem is bedeviling adult education in Nigeria despite numerous prospect which include inadequate funding, failures of the UBE act to give adequate recognition to Adult and Non-FormalEducation as a key sector of basic education etc.


The following are the objectives of this study:

  1. To examine the problems of adult education in Nigeria.
  2. To examine the prospects of Adult education in Nigeria.
  3. To examine the component of Adult education in Nigeria.


  1. What are the problems of adult education in Nigeria?
  2. What are the prospects of Adult education in Nigeria?
  3. What are the components of Adult education in Nigeria?


The following are the significance of this study:

  1. The outcome of this study will educate the general public on the problems and prospects of adult education in Nigeria.
  2. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic


This study on the problems and prospects of adult education in Nigeria will cover all the challenges of adult education in Nigeria with a view of planning a better future for that subsector of Nigeria education system.


Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


Dave, R. (1973) Life Long Education and Alcohol, Hamburg: UNESCO, Institute of Education.

Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) National Policy on Education, Abuja Government Printer.

Nzeneri, I.S. (2002). Handbook on adult education, principles and practice.OnitshaGoodway printing press.

Onyenemezu, E.C. (2003). Adult education and the challenges of 21st century in Nigeria. Education and practice (3),1-7

Bown, L. and Okedara, .LT. (1981) An Introduction to the Study of Adult Education, lbadan: University Press Ltd

Haggai, M. and Mang, L. (2003) ‘Supplementing secondary education for poor families’, Nigerian Journal of Curriculum Studies, VoL 10, 2.

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