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Roles of International Organizations in Adult Education

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This article captures the involvement of international organizations that have played active roles in Adult education. These bodies are either governmental or non-governmental organizations.

There is also the categorization between those bodies that place Adult Education as their only objectives, those bodies of  education as part of their major functions and those bodies that  place some very little educational content in their operations.

These bodies were set up by the government, or by the government agency or by group of individuals or by international organizations who have taken responsibilities for the establishment and funding of adult education programs.

The broad classification of international organization according to Townsend (1981) includes:

1. GLOBAL ORGANIZATIONS

Non-governmental organizations

  • With adult education as their exclusive concern
  • In which adult education forms an important aspect of their work
  • In which there is some educational content in their work

Inter-governmental organizations

  • With adult education as an important point of their work
  • With some interest in adult education

Trusts and charitable institutions

2. REGIONAL (CONTINENTAL) ORGANOZATIONS

Non-governmental organizations

  • With adult education as their exclusive concern
  • With some interest in adult education

Inter-governmental organizations

1. GLOBAL ORGANIZATIONS

Non-governmental organizations

  • Global non-governmental organizations with adult education as their exclusive concern include:

International Council for Correspondence Education

International Federation of Workers Educational Association

International Congress of University Adult Education

International Council for Adult Education

International Council for Correspondence Education

The main objectives of this council include the following:

  1. Promoting knowledge and improving correspondence education throughout the world.
  2. Exchanging information in respect of the growth and organization of correspondence education
  • Undertaking researches in correspondence education throughout the world.
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International Federation of Workers’ Educational Association

The association was founded in 1947 and its main objective is the promotion of co-operation between it and the national bodies who have responsibilities for workers education.

The IFWEA promotes staff development training programs through various strategies such as exchange og information, publications, house services, summer schools and conferences.

International Congress of University Adult Education

This congress was founded in 1960 and its objectives include the following:

  1. promoting communication and co-operation between adult education trainees in colleges of education and universities throughout the world.
  2. performing consultative roles with UNESCO
  3. organizing international conferences
  4. discussing matters of mutual concern among adult educators in tertiary institutions
  5. organizing regional meetings and seminars for its members; and
  6. publishing adult education journals quarterly and occasional papers on adult education curriculum for the university.
  7. Non-governmental organization in which adult education forms an important part of their work.

Some of the international non-governmental organizations in which adult education constitute a significant part of their work include:

Boys Scout World Bureau

International Council of Women

International Alliance of Women

International Planned Parenthood Federation

International Federation for Parent Education

World Association of Girls Guide and Girl Scouts

World Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Association

World Young Women’s Christian Association

World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession

The above list is not exhaustive but in all these organization, adult education form an important aspect of their work.

  • Non-governmental Organizations in which there is some educational content in their work.
  • Some of the international governmental organizations in which there is some educational content in their work include: churches, universities, press, trade unions, broadcasting, engineering, science, commerce, mass communication, libraries and health.

The international organizations that are concerned with particular groups in the society or where membership is confined to certain categories of people.

They are The blind, Mentally and physically handicapped, Journalists, Youths, , University staff, Authors, Architect and Protestants. The above case is inexhaustible

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Inter-governmental organization

Inter-governmental organizations with adult education as an important part of their work.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization was founded in 1946 and it has contributed quite immensely towards the development of adult as a discipline and as a profession.

This organization is based in Paris and has its South Africa Regional Office at Dakar in Senegal. It has the functions:

  • Promoting educational, scientific and cultural development
  • Exchanging views among adult educators throughout the world.
  • Providing assistance for adult education programs
  • Convening international conferences, regional meetings and seminars
  • Sponsoring publications, journals and newsletters
  • Recruiting and sustaining field experts in adult education on the request of member states
  • Promoting the concept of functional literacy.
  • Promoting lifelong and continuing education
  • The main concern of UNESCO is the issue of illiteracy and indeed, it occupies a central position among the organizations pursuing functional literacy.

Inter-governmental organizations with some interest in adult education

The inter-governmental organizations with some interest in adult education include:

  • The food and agriculture organization of United Nations with its interest in agricultural extension work.
  • The international labour organization with its interest in workers’ education
  • The World Health Organization with its interest in heath education.\

The three organizations identified above concern themselves with only their respective areas of interest in adult education.

Trust and charitable institutions

These are the philanthropic institutions that have contributed immensely towards the development of adult education. These are:

The Ford Foundations

The Carnegie Foundations

The Nuffield Foundations

The Peacock Foundations

The Kellog Foundations

The Fredrick Ebert Foundations

These charitable organizations have sponsored many adult education programs and have construed physical structures for institutions running adult education programs.

2. REGIONAL (CONTINENTAL) ORGANIZATIONS

Non-governmental organization

  • Regional non-governmental organizations with adult education as their exclusive concern.

These organizations are classified on continental basis and the four regional organizations include: African Adult Education Association, Asia and South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education, European Bureau of Adult Education ND Federation inter-American de Adultos, FIDEA

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It will be observed that North America has no continental organization. The functions of the above four regional international organizations include the following:

  • Providing opportunities for adult educators who are operating in almost identical environments and facing almost similar problems to interact with one another.
  • Disseminating useful information to members through journals, newsletters, conferences, seminars and workshops.
  • Providing forum for consultation among the national adult organizations.
  • Coordinating researchers on behalf of their members.

Other Regional non-governmental organizations with some interest in adult education are as follows:

Association of African Universities

Association for Teacher Education in Africa

Association of Arab Universities

Union of Latin American Universities

Inter-governmental organization

The regional or continental inter-governmental organizations have physically political and economic concerns, yet they still have interest in education. These include:

The Organization of African Unity (OAU)

The Council of Europe

The South Pacific Commission

Economic Commission for Africa

The functions of these organizations are as follows:

  • Contributing towards the development of education of education and adult education
  • Sponsoring conferences and training seminars through specialized commission
  • Promoting valuable and wealthy literature on adult education, and,
  • Disseminating useful information to their members.
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