The Department of Adult Education, University of Ife, Ile-Ife, (now Obafemi Awolowo University) was established in 1968 following the recommendation of a University Committee headed by Professor R.C. Clark.
The Department came into operation with the following general objectives:
- To extend the resources of the University of Ife to those who cannot pursue or who have already completed regular degree programmes offered on the Campus.
- To engage in research concerning the problem associated with adult learning, effective teaching and the development of adult education programmes at both the University and local levels.
- To interpret and relate in meaningful and useful ways, the technical knowledge, skills and findings or research to help people solve their problems.
- To help develop and inform leadership in all phases at social, economic, religious, aesthetic and political aspects of a democratic society through cooperating with agencies of government, business, industry, labour groups and so on, who have In-service programmes.
- To stimulate and foster the development of teaching materials, experimental programmes and professional staff resources for training activities by various agencies.
- To keep the staff of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) informed of the educational needs and interest of the people of Nigeria and especially the Western State.
To achieve some of these objectives the Department started off during the 1968/69 Session with the following programmes and activities:
- Organization of extra-mural classes in Ile-Ife, (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) and some parts of the Western State of Nigeria.
- Organization of Public lectures, symposia and conferences.
- Exploration of possible areas of collaboration with other departments of the University, Secondary Schools and other external agencies.
- Aiding the Ife Women’s group in some of their community development projects.
These activities and programmes continued till 1973 when members of the Department started to realize that these programmes and activities were not adequate to achieve the general objectives in the areas of research, dissemination of research knowledge, development of leadership potentials and fostering of training and teaching resources in adult education.
More basically, strategies for the implantation of goals were not carefully developed and not fully understood. As a result, staff, materials and financial support for the Department, were inadequate to cope with the job.
Aims and objectives of the Department:
- To conduct and organize Adult and Continuing Education programmes in the University and at approved zonal centres in selected Nigeria communities.
- To conduct research in adult and non-formal education with particular reference to the apprenticeship system.
- To teach courses in adult and continuing education.
The strategies for achieving these instructional aims were mapped out as follows
- Organization of functional literacy and evening classes for different categories of adult population in selected Nigerian Communities;
- Organization of short courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, public lectures, symposia and so on,
- Organisation of appropriate diploma and certificate courses in community development and social welfare;
- Collaboration with the Nigeria National Council for Adult Education (NNCAE) with particular respect to the organization of nation wide correspondence courses in adult and continuing education.
- Incorporation and integration of adult education courses into the existing B.A./B.Sc. Education Programmes; N.C.E and Associateship Certificate in Education programmes for prospective teachers
- Creation of additional evening classes in parts of Western and Kwara States.
The Senate of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) approved both the new objectives and the strategies for achieving the objectives. The Department of Adult Education was then renamed the Department of Continuing Education. However, because the Department had no substantive Head of Department the renaming of the Department of Adult Education to Department of Continuing was not implemented until 1975/76 academic session. The Department almost immediately began to co-ordinate degree programmes in Education English in response to man-power needs in Nigeria for qualified teachers in English. This caliber of staff is needed for Secondary Schools where English is offered for Schools Certificate Examination.
It started with two groups of students admitted through two channels – preliminary students admitted through consessional entrance examination and direct entry students. The former students were required to spend four years and the latter three years on their degree programmes. From 1988/89 academic session, students who obtained their Nigerian Certificate in Education (N.C.E.) from affiliate College of Education of this University were admitted to a two-year degree programme.
The Department started with six members of academic staff in 1975/76 academic session. The number had fluctuated between then and 1987/88 and stabilized at 10 in 2002/2003. The Department has since realized the need to embark on Adult Education degree programmes. During the last Accreditation exercise (1999) the Panel frowned at this lapse. Besides, the academic staff are not afforded any opportunity to exercise their expertise in different aspects of Adult Education.