Adult Education in Canada and the United States: Now and Throughout History

Topics: Community college, Adult education, Educational stages Pages: 6 (1875 words) Published: May 30, 2008
Adult education has grown and changed throughout the years in both Canada and the United States; however, the specifics of the system, programs, and advancements in these two countries have not been the same. Both Canada and the United States have reached a great point in their adult education programs, but improvement is always welcomed, as there have been developments throughout existence. The history of adult education dates back as long as the countries do and has evolved an unimaginable amount. The start of adult education programs can be traced back as far as the 1700s in the United States and the 1600s in Canada (Sticht “Rise...,” 2007; “Chronology,” 2004). During the Colonial and National periods in the United States, a large portion of adult education involved apprenticeships for those aged fourteen or older and many opportunities for learning reading, writing, mathematics, and trades in commercial schools (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007). Tutors placed ads in local newspapers advertising adult education tutoring in the evenings (between 1733 and 1774 there were more than four-hundred of these postings) (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007.) Benjamin Franklin played a great role in the advancement of andragogy by starting the first subscription library in 1731. The library consisted of a group of volunteers that donated books to be purchased by the members. He later established Junto- “a club whose members studied and discussed intellectual concerns such as morals, politics, and natural philosophy (science and technology) as a form of self-improvement” (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007). These establishments later developed into present day libraries and “intellectual institutions” (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007). The Navy also played a great role in the advancement of adult education by employing schoolteachers for reading and writing tutoring for the seamen (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007). The Lyceum Movement-a national network of study groups whose goal was self-improvement through learning- began in the nineteenth century as the demand for knowledge became more popular (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007). By 1835, there were more than three thousand involved in the movement (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007). Through the 1800s came the establishment of public schools, by 1880 all thirty-eight states had them, and the growth of nighttime public adult education (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007). The 1900s involved some of the greatest advancements in andragogy in the United States through the creation of different groups, associations, and foundations. The National Education Association, Carnegie Foundation, and Ford Foundation helped to establish the profession of adult education (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007). They formed associations for educating and training professionals in the field of adult education, conducted research in and supplied information about adult education, and helped to shape policies on adult education at the state level (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007). The Adult Education Act of 1966 was passed as part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society programs to help professionalize adult education and advancing literacy of native and foreign-born adults (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007; Sticht “Beyond...”, 1998). Amendments were added in 1970 to lower the age of participants from eighteen to sixteen and to expand the services provided from basic education for adults to secondary education, including GED tutoring, for adults (Sticht “Rise...,” 2007). Further amendments were added in 1978 and 1988 to promote the advancement of skills and to allow employers to play a part in offering literacy programs (Sticht “Rise...” 2007). The act was replaced in 1991 by the National Literacy Act, which helped to improve the availability of federal funds (Sticht “Rise...”, 2007.) These acts all contributed to the formation of AEFLA, Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, in 1998 (Adult, 2007). AEFLA had three purposes- to assist in the literacy and skill training of adults, to educate...

References: American Institute for Research. (August 2007). Adult education annual report to Congress 2004-05. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved March 31, 2008 from
Bates, Tony
Chronology of Canadian adult education. (2004, August 9). Encyclopedia of Canadian adult education. Retrieved March 31, 2008 from
Dover, Kimeiko Hotta
Draper, James A. (2008). Adult education. In The Canadian encyclopedia historica. Retrieved March 31, 2008 from
Employment and Training Administration
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