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The future of adult education

By Michael Omolewa
10 February 2015   |   5:02 am
Text of the Distinguished Personality Lecture of the Nigerian Association of Adult Education Students (NAAES), University of Ibadan Chapter. I WISH to congratulate our old Department on the attainment of the age of 65, what can be described as the arrival at real adulthood. It is the Lord that has continued to keep the Department…

Text of the Distinguished Personality Lecture of the Nigerian Association of Adult Education Students (NAAES), University of Ibadan Chapter.

I WISH to congratulate our old Department on the attainment of the age of 65, what can be described as the arrival at real adulthood. It is the Lord that has continued to keep the Department these many years. It is a great privilege and much appreciated honour for me to be part of the celebration and I thank all those who have decided to grant me this enviable honour. Please let me begin by appreciating the Ibadan chapter of the Nigerian Association of Adult Education Students who have taken it upon themselves to celebrate the anniversary of their Department and inviting my close friends and colleagues whose presence and company I constantly treasure. I am glad that our Dean has been able to make this event.

  Very few people are aware of the profound gratitude which I owe to our Department which introduced me to the study of adult education, and gave me an identity and a profession. I could of course not decline an invitation to join in the celebration of the Department that had given me such great favour over the years. In any case one of the conditions for my attachment to the Department and the Faculty is to support initiatives of this type.

  My aim in this presentation is to attempt to explore the future of adult education. I am sure that those who were kind to invite me to deliver the Lecture are aware that I am only a practising historian. I am strongly convinced, as I argued at my Inaugural Lecture which was delivered in 1987 that we can always benefit from the use of rear-view mirror approach to chart a course for the future. I am by no means an angel who has the gift of predicting the future.  I shall however attempt to construct the past of the field of adult education as preparation for our understanding its present status and then use our findings as an instrument for a possible projection of its future. Within the foundation of adult education are elements that can be used to determine the future prospects and status of adult education.

The foundation

  Founded in 1949 as the Department of Extra-Mural Studies, the Department of Adult Education was merged in 1962 with the Institute of Education, founded in 1957, and became the Faculty of Education and Extra Mural Studies. The Department was designated the Department of Adult Education in 1964 when Diploma programmes in Adult Education and Community Development were introduced. 

  The Department has embarked on most thriving activities and it soon became the envy of the entire University and the global world of adult education. The story of the department has been told in literature that may not require being recounted in this presentation. In 1989 it became the first University in Africa to be awarded the much coveted UNESCO International Literacy Prize. I should only add that the department has been lucky to survive the various challenges and today it remains standing. 

   In some way age has been a help to Adult education. As a field of practice, adult education is a very old enterprise. For example, it was the first field in educational practice. For those who believe in the creation story, and not the evolution story, Adam was created an adult. It was as an adult that he named the plants, animals and had a wife. The couple were chased out as adults from the beautiful Garden of Eden and they later began to have children, one of whom was favoured and the other rejected following the inappropriate choice of the elements for sacrifice which he made.

  We know that the Indigenous African society made provision for adult education practice which ensured that education was lifelong and uninterrupted. Perhaps it is the long duration of the practice of adult education from the cradle and past the grave that qualifies for the description of adult education as the education that is adult, or really old. The form of education was practical and the entire community was served in an inclusive manner. Age grades were used to provide appropriate and relevant education and catered for the variety of interest groups. It has been observed that a further weakness of the indigenous adult education system is that until recently the culture, under which the adult education system operated, had no formal system, had no developed system of writing and no articulated philosophy of adult education. The limitation posed by illiteracy factor was to be later addressed by the coming of the Arabic and Western education.

Lessons taught by the history of adult education

  I would like to focus attention on just two of the myriad of lessons taught by the history of adult education in Nigeria. 

  The first is that the society can be best served through the application of knowledge that has been acquired by the individual experts or specialists. The specialists and teachers in extramural studies department had the duty to extend learning outside the walls of the university and be popularisers and verbalisers of the knowledge possessed in the course of their research. This was the background to the founding of the Department of extramural studies at the University College, Ibadan in 1949. Beginning with Robert Gardiner, a Ghanaian economist, and followed by the late Professor Ayo Ogunsheye who had studied Economics at the prestigious London School of Economics in London, the focus of responsibility of staff of the new Department was on the dissemination of their knowledge among those who were outside the walls of the university. That was also the tradition followed by the late Professor S.H.O.Tomori who used his knowledge of English as a Foreign Language for the wider society. The tradition of the application of knowledge for the benefit of the wider society was faithfully followed by the late Professor Jones Adelayo Akinpelu who popularised the subject of philosophy, especially the philosophy of education throughout his lifetime. There were many adult education practitioners who later left the Department after an initial contribution. One excellent example is the late Professor James Majasan who began his career at the University College, Ibadan as an effective resident teacher of geography at the Department of Extramural studies in many locations in Nigeria before he left for the Institute and Department of Education. 

  Like many of my predecessors in the Department, my arrival in the department was never planned. I had earlier been trained as a historian and with the help of the late Professor Jacob Ade Ajayi, the late Professor Paul Mbaeyi, the late Dr Remi Adeleye, the late Professor Douglas Johnson, Professor Tekena Tamuno, and Professor Ayo Bamgbose among others, the Lord gave me a miracle doctorate degree in History. When I took up a teaching position in history, my mission was to teach history and serve the wider community with the application of my knowledge of history. With the help of the late Professor S.H.O.Tomori, the late Mr S.S.Allanah, the late Professor Jones Akinpelu and Mr O.Sonubi I began to enjoy my new orientation as a teacher in the Department.

  We should remember that Nigeria had inherited the British tradition of university extramural studies which encouraged the promotion of university outreach work. Both the Asquith and Elliot Commissions established during the final years of British rule in Nigeria to study the future of higher education had made the case for extramural work by the new University colleges in Africa along the tradition of the British Oxford University. Ibadan accepted the idea and made the Department of extramural studies from which the department of adult education emerged, a priority. Kenneth Mellanby, the founding Principal of the University College Ibadan reported that local interest had already been aroused in extramural work at the inception of the UCI and that he had made contact with the Secretary of the Oxford delegacy for extramural work who had initiated the programme in the earlier years. Mellanby also showed an interest in the idea of the residential study, vacation courses and extension work and tutorial classes. He recruited a distinguished African economist as Director for the extramural work and supported the establishment of the Department of extramural work. As the College submitted in 1961:

On the one hand, an extramural department should enable the university to maintain direct contact with the community, preventing graduates from becoming a separate class, divorced from the aspirations of their influence far and wide, and giving the public an understanding of what the university is doing. On the other hand, such a department should serve society in two ways by disseminating knowledge and thus helping to create an informed public opinion, and also by providing opportunities for real study for those who would have profited by university education but have passed the age for it.

  University outreach work is indispensable for the development of a healthy relationship between the university and the public that is not directly served by the ‘ivory tower’. The outreach programmes were extended to trade unionists and practitioners in Industrial relations. At some time in the history of the Department the annual conferences for these categories of workers were like carnivals.

  A second lesson taught by the history of adult education is that a major preoccupation of adult education has remained its function as a provider of access to education for those who otherwise would have remained denied such access. And we have some examples.

  During the colonial rule and after, education was rationalised. Access was denied the poor and the downtrodden, those without ‘connections’ and whose parents had little influence. It will be recalled that during the time there was no provision for university education in the country. It was adult education that filled the gap helping to provide the education that was required for social change.   Under that circumstance it was adult education that was the last hope of the ordinary people, helping them to realise their full potentials and capabilities, helping them to explore their possibilities and giving them the encouragement never to give up their dream and vision for a better and improved future for themselves, families and communities.

It will be recalled that during this period there was criticism of the attitude of the colonial office by the Phelps-Stoke Education mission to Africa which was inspired from the United States. As response to the observations of the Commission, the British government had   set up in 1923 an Advisory Committee to assist government with the coordination of the formulation of an educational policy. But access to higher education remained limited: there were no universities and Africans were denied the opportunity to fully realise their full potentials. Private tuition, evening classes and self-education came as an alternative route for the education of the more ambitious and more determined.  The Ijebu-Ode blacksmith, Emmanuel Odukoya Ajayi began to use private study to acquire education. After his primary education, he registered for the external degree programmes of the University of London. He passed the London Matriculation examination in 1922, the Intermediate Arts degree examination in 1925 and the full degree examination in 1927. As a graduate of the University of London, Ajayi’s fortunes changed dramatically. He got married and brought up his children all of whom became distinguished in the country. Other graduates followed, inspired by the success of the fellow Nigerians. Alvan Ikoku graduated at his Awka base in Eastern Nigeria and Josiah Soyemi Ogunlesi of Sagamu became the first history graduate of the University of London in 1933, having studied at his school base at St Andrew’s College, Oyo. His colleague, S.A.Banjo also graduated, using correspondence courses.   The use of correspondence education as an alternative to acquiring education helped produce the men of distinction who contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria: Ogunlesi became the first graduate editor of the Daily Times and the first mass education officer for Western Nigeria. Alvan Ikoku became the Vice-President of the Nigeria Union of Teachers and later succeeded Ransome Kuti as President. Today his face is captured on the ten naira notes. Ajayi became a respected teacher and disciplined professional and Banjo’s work at St Luke’s College is still to be equalled in the history of education in Nigeria. The children of these pioneer graduate teachers have continued the illustrious work done by their fathers.

  In addition to those from places that were near the coast, there were a few in the hinterland who also decided to take their own fortune into their own hands and used adult education and self-directed-learning to escape from the limitations posed by restricted access and the challenge of travel abroad.

  Many people in modern day Ekiti State used adult education, defined as self-education, to improve their lot. It will be recalled that this was a part of the country that was among the last to be served with Western Educational which had become indispensable for personal social and political mobility in the country then under the British colonial rule. For example while the first secondary school was established in Lagos as far back as 1859 in Lagos State and Ogun State had its first secondary school in 1908 it was not until 1933 that Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti, the first secondary school in Ekiti State was founded. A further limitation in Ekiti State was poverty. There was abject poverty. Afe Babalola says that in his days he lived:

in an unplastered mud house” and that “water was a rare commodity”. He notes that “we did not wear shoes to school. But on Sundays I wore the white tennis bought for me by my mother…On my return from the church I used to clean my tennis shoes, wash them, apply white Nugget, dry them and keep them till the next Sunday.

Employment in government offices was a rarity as there were few openings and less government presence in the State. Yet there was a boldness to develop, a strong determination to explore opportunities and a commitment to the pursuit of academic and professional excellence among the people. Let us take a few examples.

  The first would be Afe Babalola who is perhaps the most excellent demonstration of the impact of self-directed education. For a number of reasons his parents did not send him to secondary school. As he puts it: 

  My friends who went to Christ School, Ado-Ekiti, Ilesha Grammar School, Government College, Ibadan, and Kings College, Lagos passed out in 1952.  Some later went for a two-year course for the Higher School Certificate (HSC), but most of them were employed as Clerks in the Railways, Marine Department and in the Civil Service.  As civil servants, their salaries were higher than teachers’ salaries.    They were better dressed.  They were contemptuous of teachers.  Indeed, I also believed that I was inferior to them.

  He was advised by a colleague to use the Wolsey Hall tuition materials developed in Oxford for his various examinations. Using the correspondence education materials he passed the Cambridge School Certificate examination from his base as a teacher in Gbongan in 1952 He also passed the general Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary level examination in 1953, and the GCE Advanced level examination one year later. With his excellent results he applied for the Western Nigerian government scholarship. As he explains:

  I put in my application.  I was confident that I would be awarded a Scholarship because of my impressive educational qualifications namely: Teachers High Elementary Certificate, Grade II by private study, Cambridge School Certificate including Mathematics, English and Geography by private study, six subjects at London GCE Ordinary Level including Mathematics, English and Geography; four subjects at London GCE Advanced Level at the same sitting including Geography and Economics.

  In fact I was the most qualified in the Region that year.

  To my utmost surprise, when the scholarship awards were published, my name was nowhere to be found.  Under the political arrangement, Ekiti was entitled to one scholarship in Economics.  The slot for Ekiti was awarded to one Mr. Adu from Ikere, the son of the Chairman of Action Group in Ekiti.  What was most annoying and immoral in the exercise was that Mr. Adu had only Cambridge School Certificate and did not meet the mandatory requirements advertised by the government. 

  Afe Babalola decided to invest all his energy and resources to his private study and passed the B.Sc. honours degree in Economics. Still as a teacher, now at the City Academy in Ibadan, he passed the Intermediate Law examination of the University of London in 1960 by private study, again using correspondence courses. When he arrived at the University of London for the mandatory residential course for his final law and bar examinations, he was recognised as “the wonder man who specializes in private study”.  

   Used to private studies Afe Babalola found it difficult to benefit from the face-to-face lectures given at the University:

  Firstly, I found that I did not comprehend what the English teachers were saying.  They were either too fast or not sufficiently audible.  A JJC (Johnny Just Come) to England needed time for adjustment.

Secondly, for over two decade I was used to reading text books on my own, making notes and learning through reading.  The new system was difficult and boring tome.  I therefore chose to attend only a few classes where we had foreign teachers like a German teacher whose English was easier to understand.

  I made use of the university library and canteen.  By June 1962, I had passed the LL.B Part I Final and Part I of the Bar Final.   

Babalola notes that his achievements came by hard work, courage and dedication. During his working days, studying part time he says that as soon as he left the Secretariat every afternoon he would go to a primary school with his lamp and remained there till about 1 midnight  every day except Saturdays and Sundays.

  He also notes the very ‘sweet’ reward of his labour:

I sat for the B.Sc. Economics papers in June 1959.  My examination Centre was the British Council in Lagos.  I was the only candidate who sat for the B.Sc. (Econs) (Hons,) paper of London University in the Lagos Centre that year.

  One morning in September, 1959, I received a letter from the Secretary to the Senate of University of London.  I knew it was my result.  I opened it with tepidity and utmost eagerness.  It was a congratulatory letter informing me that I was successful in the B.Sc. Economics Examination which I took in June 1959.  I jumped for joy.    The staff in the office passed the letter round.  I showed it to my boss, Mr. Omage, who took it to the Senior Assistant Secretary, Mr. Akinyemi, who in turn took it to the Permanent Secretary, an English man.  

  Within hours, the news had spread round the whole Secretariat at Ibadan. The following day, the Under Secretary who was sent to the Head of Service, Mr. Mcgrath, a white man sent for me.  He congratulated me very heartily and told me that he was going to promote me to the post of Assistant Secretary – which was a post of an Assistant District Officer.  To his utmost surprise, I rejected the offer.  As an Assistant Secretary I would have been entitled to a car, government quarters in the GRA and some other allowances as against my one room apartment at Oke Ado and my rickety bicycle.

  It is lamentable that the world of learning has not fully appreciated Afe Babalola. Literature about him is limited to his exploits in the judiciary and the legal practice.  Many of the current works on him have not done adequate justice to the contributions of the man who has amply shown how a person who derived his roots from poverty and oppression could emerge to address those very needs of his fellow men. As soon as he became better educated than the people in his community, he resolved to assist them in their development efforts to fight impoverishment. He provided jobs, built bridges in places least served, established agricultural programmes and projects, complementing the work of government, but receiving no taxes or levies. He knew where the shoe pinched. He has also contributed to the welfare of the middle class, employing seasoned professional as specialists, professors and university teachers, preparing lawyers for recognition and upward mobility, many of them becoming Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). He had the freshness of a vision inspired by his experience as Pro-Chancellor and chairman of Council of the University of Lagos to establish one of the model private universities in Africa, the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD). 

  He is unmistakably a man of genius who would never have been to realise his full potentials in life without adult education assistance in form of correspondence education and the external degree programmes of the University of London.

  Another person of note who had entered success through the use of adult education is Oluremi Festus Omotoso, current Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Ltd, ‘listed in Nigeria’s annals of corporate titans’, former chief executive of the Lever Brothers, now Unilever in Nigeria, and former Group Managing Director of the Odua Group. He also became Conference Lay President of the Methodist Church of Nigeria from 2004 to 2009 and served as Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2005. 

  His childhood was in the midst of poverty for which reason he did not step out of his home town for the first 14 years of his life. His parents were so poor that they could not afford to send him and his half-sister to secondary school. He had to attend the then secondary modern school where only Arithmetic, English, Social Sciences and Agriculture were taught, and spending time assisting the mother to sell kerosene, cigarette and matches. When the mother bought him his first pair of shoes, people came to congratulate her for what was considered an investment in her son. 

  Omotoso eventually got admitted into a Teacher Training College, graduated, lost his father at an early age, and got posted to a village where he rented a room. The room was not plastered and the house had no toilet, the room had no bed and Omotoso bought a mat on which to sleep. He remained undaunted and resolved to cause a change in his fortunes. He was lucky to be introduced into an alternative access to education through the provision of the external degree programmes of the University of London. He met the requirement for the qualifying examination which was needed to register for six papers of the General Certificate of Education (GCE) and passed all the papers.  He made the Western State Library his unofficial home and his text books his regular companions. He also used correspondence courses and evening classes of Rado and Wesley College. Omotoso recalls that he was very hard on himself and denied himself all luxuries and personal pleasure. In the end he passed the GCE Advanced level and got admission to read Geography at the University of Ibadan from where he eventually graduated. His graduation brought him into the world of work and affluence and gave him the confidence to excel.

  There are many other cases in Ekiti, there poverty had been eliminated, and helplessness removed by the intervention of adult education. Professor Afolabi Ojo passed his London Matriculation examination at home while he was Headmaster of a School at Emure-Ekiti while the renowned economist, Professor Sam Aluko passed his BSc honours degree examination in Economics at home by private study.

  Those who have been left behind or have withdrawn from formal education, those who learnt out- of- school, are  too old to learn, and too poor to make it, resort to adult education as an alternative access to realisation of their potentials and the fulfilment of their educational ambition. The University of Ibadan decided to inherit the tradition of the University of London. Under the inspired leadership of Professor S H.O.Tomori, the Department’s proposal for external studies programme was approved in 1972 and was expected to begin in 1976. The approval of the National Universities Commission was obtained and the programme was successfully launched in 1988 as the external studies programme of the University, supplementing and complementing other initiatives for the preparation of teachers and other professionals by distance learning. 

  Adult education does not however operate only at the level of the post primary education. It caters also for those who have not had any opportunity to learn. Although I do not share the view that illiteracy is a disease, I believe that literacy can assist a person to become a better and more efficient person. Yet illiteracy has persisted in the country. The Department of Adult Education at the University of Ibadan had been at the forefront of the literacy drive in the country and has been recognised for service rendered to the community.

  Literacy programmes had also been mounted for the troops recruited at the outbreak of the Second World War. For it was observed that the Nigerian troops were a hindrance to the prosecution of the war due to their lack of literacy. They did not know how to respond to the marching orders of left, right and had to resort to the use of “lefutu, rete”, for the application of  the military order to march left, and right. To get order about moving to the trenches was going to be more complicated. For non- combatants and for ordinary citizens there was the dread of illiteracy in not being able to read newspapers or even prescriptions. The signs on buses and shops have remained an embarrassment and disrespectful of the grammar and other spelling mistakes.

  Further areas of the preoccupation of adult education were in the area Literacy Mass literacy campaigns, Industrial education and trade union issues. That was what gave rise to a professor in the department remaining simply a comrade.

Matters arising

  In pondering the future of adult education, the issue of equity is perhaps not the most critical. Rather I think that it is the philosophy of education and the place of adult education within the overall educational philosophy that should engage our attention. For as long as there is inequity of access to education, adult education will continue to be relevant as it seeks to provide alternate routes and access to education, which is core  mandate of adult education. It seems to me that the strength of adult education, which is also its major weakness, is its potentials; and it is clear that it is the potentials that will continue to sustain the discipline both as a field of study and practice.

  The ‘quick response’ to the issues that confront the problem of the individual, the community and the wider society, will remain the pillar on which adult education will continue to mount and shine. Abidoye Sarumi has noted that the future of the department is very bright, given the past noble and effective manner Adult Education has performed in the past:

  When the universities were called upon to provide expert knowledge towards the reduction of illiteracy rate in the country, adult and non-formal education came to the rescue. When the universities wanted to take advantage of the revolution in Information Communication Technologies, to expand the frontiers of knowledge and literally widen the “four walls” of their enclosure to a large segment of the society, adult and non-formal education came to the rescue.

  When the scourge of HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases, were threatening human existence, and the universities were required to provide a blue-print on how education can be used to spread the message and not the virus, adult and non-formal education arose to its responsibilities, through its social welfare component, by providing such education to the adults in the society.

  In spite of its achievements, it is clear that the Department has suffered from the old physical structures, including the building and the furniture. The Department has also had many of the programmes that it initiated carted away from it. One major reason may be the failure to appreciate the scope of adult education. To many the perception of adult education is the education provided for those who have nothing else to do. We may note that definitions of adult education which began as far back as at the time of the UNESCO world conference at Elsinore in Denmark in 1949 have continued.   There is a suggestion that the Department should consider a possible change in its name as done with some University Departments in the country. Perhaps more preferable should be the need to upgrade the Department and give it the status of a Faculty of Adult Education which will embrace all the areas of the mandate of adult education.   The proposal to bring all the service programmes under one large umbrella, a Faculty of Adult Education, should attract the interest of the University. The large family will prevent any dispute over the custody of the children of the same patriarch. 

  This arrangement should not be conceived as a process of empire building, but see as steps leading to the re-integration and restoration of the various components of the family. The new family will consist of Distance education delivery and take advantage of the expertise of adult education in the field of adult learning methodologies. The National Orientation unit will be able to assist to support programmes in the area of values development at a time that transformation is required in the nation. The learning outcomes would include the inculcation of basic attitudes that will make wealth, religious or ethnic connection less effective in the nominations for positions. It will also assist in the transformation of the citizen through an aggressive campaign to end the culture of secrecy, manipulation and planting of mediocrity. There would be Departments for Literacy, Social Welfare, Industrial relations, Trade Unions, Ageing Studies and Gerontology, 

  At the moment, adult education has not effectively confronted the obstacles that limit its path to the full realisation of its vision and mission. Some writers have drawn attention to an imaginary war between theoreticians and practitioners when the real issue has been the question of search for power and influence and the willingness to allow outsiders intervene in domestic matters of the discipline and practice of adult education. Some have warned that the absence of commitment, dedication and patriotism, and the rewards of treacheries and betrayals may continue to work against the interest of adult education programmes.  It is imperative that adult education avoids the luxury of complacency or stagnation in programmes, activities and mission and begin to have clarity of vision and mission.   

It is clear that adult education will continue to thrive as long as there is in the society, inequity and inequality, social injustice, deprivation and neglect of any segment of the population. Adult education will also remain both relevant and topical as long as learning is conceived as lifelong. This means that even after graduation adult education will continue to offer opportunities for continuing learning for professionals from every walk of life.

  As Chief Stephen Oluwole Awokoya, the first Minister of Education of Western Region of Nigeria and frontline implementer of the policy of his Action Group for universal primary education once forcefully argued, the education of the adult is of critical importance. In a similar vein, the first Minister of Education of Western Nigeria, Chief Stephen Oluwole Awokoya, who introduced the first Free Primary Education in independent Nigeria, also once observed that development could not take place if literacy is denied the adult.  As he put it:

  …they are the people who participate in voting for a government, producing the food, building the houses, curing the sick, cleaning the environment, making the clothes, transporting good and personnel, producing electrical energy, distributing and selling goods, operating and using the financial institutions, administering the government, adjudicating in the courts, and preserving the territorial integrity of the nation.

  As long as learning remains lifelong, adult education will continue to be relevant. Its focus should continue to include the marginalised, the feeble and the ignored, including the road side mechanics vulcanizers and drivers who will require massive dosage of literacy to be able to write appropriate signs and notices on vehicles. The adult education initiative will help to keep out some of the errors of spelling and errors which made the ‘danfo’ bus, XP 498 KTU registered in Ketu, Lagos, demonstrate the abysmal ignorance of citing Psalm 121 for the caption on the bus which read “The Lord is my Shepherd”. For the correct reference is Psalm 23 while Psalm 121 is “I will lift my eyes unto the hills”. The efforts would also include the intensification of programmes in continuing education for the professions and for those planning to change jobs or update their knowledge. Adult Education will ensure that Lifelong learning would be for all, and not just for some.

  All these new expectations of adult education will of course require a new drive, a new imagination, zeal, commitment and dedication. Adult education practitioners themselves have a role to play to define specifically what constitutes the principles and philosophy of adult education. For education is first and foremost something to equip one with some skill, something to earn a certificate and make a living. Education is a compulsive urge and curiosity to know, to learn, to acquire knowledge for its own sake and for service to the wider society, to humanise, to make one the citizen of the world and somebody who can pursue knowledge for its own sake. The point is that adult education is capable of providing opportunities for continuing learning throughout life. Thus even a graduate after retirement can be encouraged to become interested in the pursuit of knowledge.  I know that these expectations are possible and that the proposed programmes and structure are in national interest.

Thank you and God bless you.

I want to acknowledge the contribution of my teacher, Dr G.A.Akinola to the finalization of this paper, and thank my past teachers and students for all the help given me over the years.

** Michael Omolewa, Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), is Emeritus Professor of the History of Education at the University of Ibadan, and Emeritus Professor of History at Babcock University. He served as Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Ibadan and former Chairman of the Committee of Deans of Education of Nigerian Universities. He was Vice-Chairman of the Governing Board of the Commonwealth of Learning in Canada, President of the 32nd session of the General Conference of UNESCO in France and a Gold Medallist of the UN specialized agency.