Education Systems – Adult Education

by Rose Hill

People generally conceive of education as being directed towards children, but that has never been true.  Adults have had cause to learn new things throughout history.  In many cases, one might be required to be of legal age (whatever that age may be) before they are allowed to learn something.

 

What are some reasons an adult might seek education?

  • Continuing their education from childhood
  • Adding additional degrees
  • A change in profession
  • Immigration/emigration

 

Some of the same questions that apply to children apply to adults as well.

 

Who teaches adults?

Do people who teach adults need to have the same credentials as those who teach children?  In the US, those who want to teach children need to have a teaching license.  Depending on the educational institution, all that is needed to teach adults is some form of higher degree.

 

The qualifications of who teaches adults will change depending on the reason an individual seeks the education.  Someone who has moved to a brand-new country and needs to learn the language needs someone fluent in the new language more than they need a teacher with fancy degrees.  Someone changing their profession wants a teacher skilled in their new profession; higher education is only relevant as long as it pertains to the job in question.

 

What discipline methods are allowed?

Typically, corporal punishment is out of the question because adults will fight back.  But this may change depending on the circumstances of the education.  So, how are the adult students kept in line if they get unruly?  Are they sent out of class?  Given lower grades?  Refused permission to return?

 

There are also some questions specific to adults.

 

Who chooses an adult’s profession?

Is it self-chosen?  Do they follow their parents’ profession(s)?  Do their parents/guardians pick their profession for them?  Does a local leader make that choice?  Who gets to make this decision will tell you a lot about the level of autonomy vs social control in your particular culture.

 

Also consider what sort of professions are available.  Hunting isn’t generally an available option in an extremely high-tech society.  Nor would it be viable in a vegetarian society.  Similarly, a computer programmer would be out of the question for a low-tech world.  Consider what sort of jobs your culture would have available and what value they hold in society.

 

Don’t forget to add social class into the mix.  The higher up the social ladder one goes, the less likely you are to find them cleaning waste from the streets.  The lower on the social ladder one is, the less likely they’ll be working in places they might contact the ruling class.  This will impact what jobs are available for your characters.

 

Can a person learn more than their particular trade?

Are people allowed to switch professions?  This will tie into who gets to choose a person’s profession.  If an individual can choose whatever they like, they might be able to change their mind later down the road (assuming that finances and other concerns allow).  But if someone in power chose a person’s profession for them, there is less of a chance that the profession is changeable.

 

What if a person doesn’t want to change their profession, they just want to pick up a new skill or hobby on the side?  Where can this person go for teachers?  Who controls that knowledge?  Are certain trades open to anyone to learn?  Are certain trades restricted to certain individuals?  Are there adult education classes that teach hobbies like these?

 

Can a person be a jack of all trades, and dabble in a bit of everything?  Are they, perhaps, expected to, like a Renaissance Man of old?

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