Adult Education As It Relates Term Paper

Length: 10 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Government Type: Term Paper Paper: #20536879 Related Topics: Adult Development, Nelson Mandela, Importance Of Education, Democracy
Excerpt from Term Paper :

The two sets of priorities combined, the people have a rather distorted view over its role in the society he lives in. This is why it is important that action be taken in order to correct this belief through adult learning. For instance, the role of the individual in a Latin American country, one in which the socialist norms of production still represent the backbone of the economic development is his role as a consumer of the goods often provided by the state (Leis, n.d.). However, this attitude is most often viewed among the older generation, as the young generation has a different perspective more liberal oriented.

Therefore, this is one of the major issues adult education must change dramatically in Latin America. Especially during the Cold War era, the idea that the state could provide the necessary means for subsistence was a common practice across the Eastern bloc. However, nowadays, the individual must be seen as an active member of the community, and not a mere consumer of goods. People must and should engage in civil affairs, some than would promote the freedom of the society from the strains of past regimes.

This is an important factor in the evolution of the democracy because it offers the older generation the possibility to reconsider their position inside a society which is constantly changing. Taking into account the fact that the younger generation is already on a different set of values, it is important to reduce this gap. Thus, adult education represents a set of norms which aim precisely at reducing this difference. Initiatives in this sense relate to actions addressing the basic levels of knowledge up to the highest ones. Thus, nongovernmental organizations as well as different international organizations address illiteracy among Latin Americans (Torres, 1990), one of the first steps towards achieving a more educated society. At the same time, the idea of eradicating illiteracy has also an impact on the way in which people receive information or get in contact with analysis and interpretations of different political evolution. It can be said therefore that another reason for which leaders such as Chavez of Castro are still in the frontline of international politics is the lack of access to information and at the same time the limited knowledge of the actual meaning of that information.

Another important aspect of strengthening democracy in Latin America is the increase of the power of the civil society. In any democratic society, the voice of the people but also of the nongovernmental sector can become at times a pondering force for the acting government. As it is the case in Latin American countries, the image of the civil society is rather weak and there are little signs of improvement (Montenegro, n.d.). Without a strong involvement of the adult population which can bring an added value to the opposition towards the system, the situation is even less likely to evolve in a positive manner. This is why the issue of adult education in the sense of the development of a civic awareness is crucial.

At this point, adult education should not be perceived in the sense of the traditional means of studying but rather in the form of a project aimed at the adult population which would develop aspects such as civic involvement in the public affairs of the society, or actions aimed at improving the civic environment in which most of the individuals conduct their daily affairs. At the same time though, there must be a reconsideration of the civic spirit in the sense that the actions undergone by the adults who have been subjects of such a project must be motivated by a belief in the values of democracy and liberty, not by the potential financial gains one might achieve from this.

The situation is by no means different in the African countries. Even more so, Africa is considered to be one of the poorest areas in the world despite the fact that it benefits from immense natural resources as well as from an important labor force. However, these aspects are as well considered from a rather authoritarian point-of-view, as the people of most African countries are relatively limited in their...


The case of South Africa is relevant in this sense. Thus, the history of the country determined the state to face up to decades of racist behavior and apartheid policy. However, despite the presidency of Nelson Mandela who is viewed to this day as one of the most important political figures of all times, adult people are limited in their views and expectations. Thus, the view of the young democracy which is South Africa is rather grim. More precisely, "when Nelson Mandela was President of South Africa, he tried to make all South Africans - no matter what their skin color is - feel at home in South Africa. Things have changed a little since Thabo Mbeki is President. Thabo Mbeki rather emphasizes the concept of Black Nationalism, which makes the white minority rather feel uncomfortable" (Klemann, 2004).

From this perspective the fact that there was no democratic background on which the actions of Mandela could have been based on as well as the fact that the democratic system in itself was not stable led to the consideration of the public that little if any has changed in the years following the apartheid. In this sense, although there is no visible political manifestation of a racist behavior, the society is still marked by the impact of the early 1990s. Thus, "apartheid officially no longer exists, but its legacy is plain to see. Those who led the struggle are now those who preside over that legacy" (Pearce, 2004).

The major problem with the African society is the fact that they tend to perceive themselves differently and at the same time from a perspective which is related to the past. Therefore, there is a sense of apathy towards the possible and eventual changes the South African society for instance can achieve. Thus, there is a lack of trust in the political forces which are considered by the population to be inefficient in resolving the issue still present of racial behavior, of poverty, and of lack of political power. from this point-of-view, it is important to consider the education of the population, and especially of the adult population which can take a stand in the spirit of civic involvement.

A problem similar to the one experienced by the Latin American countries is the lack of educated people. Thus, one of the first elements of improvement inside the society is the decrease of the illiteracy percentage. This is not necessarily an aspect related to the issue of democracy, although it would represent an important improvement. It is more the issue of the development of the society as a whole (World Bank, 2001). Thus, the traditional means of studying such as schools for adults who wish to improve can be used to increase their own personal capacities. The study of literature or arithmetic would enable the population to have a better grip on their own destiny and in the end of the destiny of a nation. This aspect is crucial because it determines a change of the society from a relatively low level, the individual.

One of the sectors of the policy of adult education with the aim of strengthening democracy is represented by the treatment of women in Africa. Indeed, there are cases on the continent which are reluctant to allow women to evolve. However, it is without a doubt the fact that in any democratic society the equality between sexes must be a prerequisite. Therefore it can be said that women most of the times have little education. This is why it is important to include among the targeted groups for an improvement in the society "women and out of school adolescents" (World Bank, 2001). The latter segment is represented more that the former ones. This is largely due to the fact that a certain level of knowledge is necessary for improving the surrounding environment and students tend to be more diligent. On the other hand however, the programs aimed for women include various means of teaching with interactive situations; therefore, the change in the traditional system of learning offers the people an incentive to learn, accumulate and in the end practice on the information.

Overall, it can be said that adult education represents an immense tool for improving the democratic process in the respective countries. The examples of the African and the Latin American region are relevant for pointing out the true need for an important orientation towards building…

Sources Used in Documents:


Facts on Liberal Education. (2003) Liberal Adult Education in Sweden. Accessed 25 April 2008, at

Klemann, J. (2004). A Critical Look at South Africa Politics and Economics. Accessed 25 April 2008, at

Leis, R. (n.d.) Reflections on Popular Education. Adult education in Latin America. accessed 25 April 2008, at

Machinea, J.L. (2004) New priorities for Latin America and the Caribbean. UN Chronicle. Accessed 25 April 2008, at

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