Formal lectures, courses, seminars, webinars, or any other similar type of educational program designed to educate an individual and give him or her further skills or knowledge to be applied in his or her line of work. These programs are intended to educate persons on new advancements, or to build upon a person’s expertise in a given field. These may be optional for some trades, but in other circumstances can be required to maintain status, certification, or licensure.

Adult Education

Typically, adult education refers to a self-motivated pursuit of new skills and knowledge. This is driven by the needs and wants of the person acquiring this education. It could be formal or informal types of education.

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The main purpose of adult education is to learn and new skills and at times to change career path. This is common with people that have went through a life style change or people that want to peruse another career.

Most adult education, unlike education for children, is voluntary and the people involved are self-motivated. Adult education can be anything from going back to school full-time to gain a degree or qualification in a specific area, to taking short courses to gain new skills.


Continuing Education

Continuing education, or CE, refers to education provided for adults after they have left the formal education system, consisting typically of short or part-time courses. The main purpose of CE is to improve upon skills that adults already have.

Most continuing education is a taken by professionals in a career that is continually developing and has frequent changes to practices.

CE can be done through an online learning platform or through social clubs, where people meet and help each other improve their skills that they need in their career.

Comparing adult education with continuing education

The adult education is primarily used for career change or to learn and develop new skills, whereas the continuing education is used to improve upon skills and develop competence within their field of work.



CE is an instructional program that brings participants up to date in a particular area of  knowledge or skills.

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Continuing Education programs are designed to meet identified or expressed adult learning needs. There is the tendency to associate continuing education with vocational, occupational or professional skills development, apparently because most of the continuing education centers are known to have something to do with such vocational or professional skills e.g. learning computer, remedial program for Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), University and Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), attending conferences, seminars, workshops. The major focus of continuing education is the provision of educational opportunities for all categories of individuals irrespective of whatever failure was earlier recorded thereby ensuring continuity in education, ensuring the continued relevance of the individuals in the society; ensuring the provision or access to education for all citizens; and helping retrieve the economic wastage that early –school learners would have constituted (Egunyomi, 2001)




  1. To keep with the new knowledge required to perform responsibly in a chosen career.
  2. To master new conceptions of the career itself.
  3. To keep with changes in the relevant fields
  4. To prepare for changes in the personal career line.
  5. To maintain freshness of outlook on the work done
  6. To continue to grow as well as rounded person
  7. To retain the power to learn
  8. To discharge effectively the social role imposed by membership in a profession



  • Trade and professional associations
  • Private career schools
  • Corporate training departments
  • Intensive English programs
  • Trade and professional associations labor union training programs
  • Religious organizations and ethical societies
  • Public affairs and cultural societies
  • Social service, volunteer and personal development organizations



One way to divide the different types of courses is by what, if any, credit they provide. Looking at the courses like this, we can see the following types of continuing education courses: Continuing Education Unit courses, degree/certificate courses, and non-credit courses.

Continuing Education Unit (CEU) courses are a very specific type of course. Professions such as doctors and nurses are constantly changing, and their members are required to take a specific number of CEU courses every year to remain practicing. CEU courses are usually offered by hospitals, unions, and similar entities associated with professions that need CEUs.

Degree/certificate courses are those that provide credit hours that can be used at an institution of higher learning to earn a degree or certificate. A computer programmer, for instance, might go to a university and take a night school course in a new computer language in order to improve his usefulness. The credits earned from completing that course could be used to get a degree or certificate from that university, even though that was not necessarily the aim of the person taking the course.

Non-credit continuing education courses are those that do not provide CEUs and can not be used to gain a degree/certificate. Non-credit courses are provided by many different sources and for many different reasons. In some cases, participants take the courses simply to learn more about a new skill or technique they’ve heard about; in other cases, the course is required by an employer. Some companies will sponsor non-credit courses to teach consumers more about a product and how to use it. In any case, non-credit courses are usually shorter than other types and generally much less formal.



  • Remedial or Second Chance Education: this is the most common and traditional form of continuing education. They are often called extra-mural or evening classes, it is very easy to set up and very widespread and loosely organized. They most offer general education curriculum and are very flexible in operations and normally teach the same subjects like the formal schools. The contact hours are mostly in the evening or night and charge fees and more or less Non-governmental that is either individual, Groups, associations and so on.
  • Vocational and career schools/centers/institutes: this is also another form of continuing education. They almost have the same characteristics except that their curricula are basically occupational and skills oriented. There are some instances where they prepare their students for external occupational and professional examinations; but most offer their own certificates whose standard, validity, for obtaining jobs are anything but guaranteed e.g. computer literacy, Hotels and catering management, Sales and Marketing and Tourist and Travel management.
  • In-service training units of Government and Business Enterprises: many governmental and private organizations establish training units in order to provide inhouse training, induction courses for the enhancement of their staff. Most banks and large industrial enterprises organize on a permanent or ad hoc basis such training for their staff.
  • Distance Education /Correspondence colleges: this unit exists either as an institution or a department in government organizations e.g. like in some universities or colleges you will have Centre for Continuing Education or Directorate of Continuing Education.
  • Professional Continuing Education: this is type of continuing education offered by professional organizations and bodied aimed at up-dating or topping up the knowledge, skills, and expertise of practicing members of the concerned professions, with a view to improve the quality of their service delivery. Typical examples are the Medical, Engineering, Nursing, Accounting, Teaching professions to mention but few. They offer this education through their association meetings, organize ad-hoc seminars, workshops, and lectures and other more systematic and more organized training schemes (Akinpelu, 2002)



Post Literacy Programmes (PLPs)  Equivalency Programmes (EPs)  Quality of Life Improvement Programmes (QLIPs)  Income-generating Programmes (IGPs)  Individual Interest Programmes (IIPs)  Future Oriented Programmes (FOPs)

Post Literacy Programmes (PLPs)

These programmes aim at maintaining and improving basic literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills, giving individuals sufficient general basic working skills, and enabling them to function effectively in their societies. In every village, we may come across people who have completed literacy courses and become neo-literates or semi-literates. We may also find some school dropouts. Both groups need to maintain and improve the skills they have acquired so that they do not regress into illiteracy. The main objectives of PLPs are to:  maintain literacy skills and prevent learners from relapsing into illiteracy by continuously practicing reading, writing and numeracy skills  improve literacy skills by acquiring higher levels of literacy  apply skills in daily life for the purpose of individual or community development, such as writing letters or for a village newspaper, reading newspapers or magazines, and calculating the expenditures for a household or for community activities. The duration of a PLP course varies from country to country. A PLP can be provided for a period of six months, nine months or a year. The period depends on the needs, time, literacy skills and learning capacity of the learners in a community.

Equivalency Programmes (EPs)

These programmes are designed as alternative ways to gain a formal or vocational qualification. The EPs are usually structured in more flexible ways than those used in the formal school system. In our community, there are school dropouts and literate youth and adults who want to continue their study to obtain educational and vocational certificates and diplomas equivalent to those awarded by formal schools. We can help them to undertake an EP through distance education or evening classes. [shc_shortcode class=”shc_mybox”]

Some primary schools in our community or nearby organize evening equivalency classes for youth and adults who have completed primary education or its equivalent. EPs recognize the prior learning of the learners and their experiences (including life skills). Therefore, the duration of study for these equivalence classes is normally shorter than that in formal schools.

For example, Ms. Meena completed her primary education more than ten years ago. After completing primary school, she started working. Later, she continued her study at the lower secondary level. Because of her previous learning and work experience, she only needed to attend a course for one and a half years to get a lower secondary education certificate equivalent to that awarded by formal schools. If Ms Meena wants, she can continue her study in formal schools. EP courses and their timeframe provide flexibility suited to the needs of learners.


Quality of Life Improvement Programmes (QLIPs)

These programmes aim at equipping learners with essential knowledge, attitudes, values and skills to enable them to improve the quality of life as individuals and as members of a community. The quality of life refers to the level of well being of a community and the degree of satisfaction in meeting basic needs. QLIPs focus on community development.[shc_shortcode class=”shc_mybox”] There may be negative factors that affect the quality of people’s life in our community:  lack of proper health and sanitation facilities,  no clean water,  poor quality parenting,  absence of cultural activities,  weak enforcement of the laws To help people improve the quality of life in our community, QLIPs can offer several short training/orientation courses that address these problems. For example, there might be a two-to-three-month course on family planning and parenting, a two-week course on health and nutrition, or weekly sessions on environmental protection. Some countries integrate QLIPs into all curricula and activities of continuing education programmes.[/shc_shortcode]

Income-Generating Programmes (IGPs)

IGPs help learners to acquire or upgrade their vocational skills to enable them to apply in their daily lives , conduct income-generating activities. Such skills may help them to change their vocation, improve their current career prospects , or set up a small business in the community . IGPs can initiate income-generating activities such as sewing, radio repair, candle and soap making, fish farming, or gardening to help these people achieve their goals. We should encourage unemployed people to join vocational training courses to gain new skills to start various income-generating activities in the community. With such skills, people will become more independent and flexible in how they earn money. For instance, they may decide to work at home. [shc_shortcode class=”shc_mybox”]To help learners to become self-employed, IGPs should focus on entrepreneurial skills, including how to conduct a market survey, plan a small business, and handle marketing and accounting. We can invite local wisdom or experts from schools or technical colleges to conduct training courses in our community. We may organize study visits to observe successful IGP from other villages. We can also arrange counseling programmes to advise learners of the ways and means of setting up small-scale businesses and obtaining credit and loan such as saving scheme and micro-credit programmes after they complete the courses.[/shc_shortcode]

Individual Interest Promotion Programmes (IIPs)

This type of programme provides opportunities for individuals to learn about and appreciate their social, cultural, spiritual, health, physical and artistic interests. The aim is to promote leisure activities, life improvement and personal development. The programme activities can be categorized into various types: hobbies, cultural activities, self-reliance, sports and activities for personal development. To be more specific, these activities may include reading and writing poetry, painting, making speeches, studying local law, participating in politics (organizing local elections), using computers, taking photographs, traditional dance, swimming, religious meditation, or flower arrangement. Learners can choose the activities that they are interested in.

Future Oriented Programmes (FOPs)

Through these programmes, we provide members of our community with opportunities to acquire new skills, knowledge and techniques. With these, they are more able to adapt themselves and their organizations to ongoing social and technological change. An important part of planning FOPs is to have an agreed vision of what the future should be like. The purpose of the programme would then be to prepare learners for that future. For example, with the widespread use of computer technology, typewriters will gradually disappear from public use. Hence we need to organize computer courses for typists so that they may become competent computer operators. Of course, the development of computer skills is not limited just to typists or managers, but should be an option for others in the community as well. In some countries, the development of this technology is slow, while in others it is happening very rapidly.

The ultimate goal of all six types of CE programme is to upgrade the standard of living and improve the quality of life of individuals, families and communities



  • The development of the individual as an autonomous person who bear responsibilities in the public domain. There will be improved human resources development.
  • To keep with the new knowledge required to perform responsibly in a chosen carrier.
  • To master new conception in the carrier itself.
  • To keep with the changes in the relevant fields.
  • To prepare for changes in the personal life.
  • To retain the power to learn.
  • To discharge effectively the social role imposed by membership in a profession
  • To satisfy the human curiosity and propensity to wan to knowledge.
  • To equip citizens with competence and self
  • –confidence for participation in the cultural, social and political governance of their community.



One of the biggest benefits of continuing education is that it can improve one’s skills in a current job or help gain new skills in preparation for a career change. There are also huge benefits for employers who promote continuing education in the workplace. If you enjoy learning or are seeking a higher salary, continuing your education can be done at any stage of your career and life.

A major driving force increasing the demand for continuing education is current economic conditions and uncertainty in the global markets. It is during these times that many people seek to improve their skills to stay hired or find other job opportunities.

There are also major benefits for employers who promote continuing education in the workplace. Employees to seek to improve their skills can be an incredible asset for the company. Continuing education in the workplace can be a win-win for both employees and employers. Companies that are truly interested in the welfare of their employees and their professional development often offer full or partial financial aid packages for training.

Benefits for employers:

Highly skills workforce – There are many intrinsic benefits having a well-educated and skilled workforce. Skilled employees bring new ideas and creativity to the job.

Upgrading of technology skills – Given the rapidly changing market and improvements in technology, companies need to ready and prepared for these changes.

Retain your happy employees – Companies that invest in the skills development of their employees generally have a better chance of retaining their staff as well improve employee moral and job satisfaction.

Impact on profits – Companies that promote skills development and continuing education will see a direct beneficial impact for the company. Happy employees are loyal and this will be evident in their productivity.

Identify future leaders – Employees who are interested in improving their skills and continuing with their education are often perfect candidates for future leaders roles and positions in the company.

Benefits for Employees

Higher salary – Continuing education improves your chances of promotion and a higher salary.

Improved marketability – Upgrading one’s skills will have direct effect on your marketability in the job market.

Learn new skills – Continuing with your education can help you to obtain the required skills and knowledge when facing any job or career transition.

Personal development – Learning and training does not have to relate to your career or job. Continuing education is a perfect way to follow a personal interest.

Improved image – Continuing education can also have an effect on how people around you perceive you. It can enhance your self-image and have a positive effect on your life.

There is no doubt that continuing education benefits employers and employees in many ways. Whether it is to improve proficiency in the workplace, improve employee promotion options, or learning new skills; continuing education has many benefits.

Whether it helps them to become more proficient in their current position or it prepares them for a better chance at promotion, acquiring additional skills and knowledge benefits employees in many ways. Well-trained and well-educated workforce helps companies to achieve long-term viability and profitability.

National Adult Education Programme (NAEP)

The National Adult Education Programme (NAEP) was launched on 2nd October, 1978. The programme aims at eradicating illiteracy among adults of the age group 15-35.


(1) Promotion of Literacy:

Imparting of literacy skills to persons belonging to the economically and socially deprived sections of the society.

(2) Creation of Awareness:

Creating an awareness in helping them overcome their helplessness and to achieve self-reliance.

(3) Raising functional capabilities:

Raising their functional capabilities in their occupation and skills of management to their own advantage as a group



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