This paper outlines that we have to take into account both the objective semantics of the term as well as try and locate it within a specific twentieth century educational context.
The term ‘adult education’ is a comparatively new one, coined much after it was actually in practice. It is a result of many years of evolutions, and its meaning, even now is far from simple and monolithic. Even as early as in 1927, Hall-Quest conceded the difficulties in defining the term. One of the biggest problems related to the definition of ‘adult education’ is, whether it refers to a set of methodologies by which ‘adults’ can be taught, or is it a holistic term that includes the general endeavor of educating adults in a specific way as well as a detailed study of government adaptation and subsequent implementation of policies that target the adults specifically as the subject of educational instruction. Theorists like Alan Rogers have defined adult education as a process ‘whereby anyone over 16 (or whatever) are treated as adults – capable, experienced, responsible and balanced people’. Such a definition has two major problems; first ‘adult education’ becomes synonymous with ‘andragogy’ thus affecting the semantic rigor of the term.
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