History : Department of Adult Education



The Department which is one of the oldest in the University of Ibadan was established on 1st October, 1949, a year after the founding of the University itself. When it was first established, the Department was known as the Department of Extra Mural Studies. This name was later changed to the Department of Adult Education and Extra Mural Studies. It acquired its present name of Department of Adult Education in 1964. The Department owed its establishment to the report of the Elliot and Ashby Commissions published in 1945, which recommended strong extra-mural activities for the new Universities that were emerging in the then British colonies in Africa.

One remarkable aspect of the growth and development of the Department is the discernable shifts and changes in its orientation, programmes and modus operandi. Between 1949 and 1965 the Department focused on what could be characterized as real extra-mural work.

In this direction, the Department organized in different locations throughout the country short-term programmes that consisted of lectures seminars and discussion classes around topics of academic and cultural interests. The programmes were aimed at raising the peoples’ culture and broadening the minds of those who had some access to western education. Later, courses in English, Economics, Political Science, and Civics were started. These courses were meant essentially for a broad and general audience with no specific examination(s) in mind.

As programme continue, the  consumers of the Department’s courses looked into the preferred instead, a programme that would yield the type of paper qualification that would be useful for employment, promotion and entry into institutions of higher learning. The pressure from the consumers led to the introduction of a programme of examination-oriented courses with topics drawn from the syllabuses of examinations like the GCE OL/ALL. Up till today, the Extra Mural Studies Programme unit of the Department prepares candidates for both the GCE O Level at four centres in Ibadan. Many prospective GCE candidates have availed themselves of the opportunities provided by the programmes. During the 1979/80 session, for instance, there was a total of 194 classes with a student population of 9,859. Related to this is the in-service training programme for the Junior and Intermediate staff of the University which the Department started in March, 1971, to prepare them for the GCE ordinary and advanced levels examination. The resources from Extra Mural Studies was used to construct the Conference Centre in 1968 which was again brought under the control of the University in 1986. Today it is known by the name Subomi Conference and University Hotel. 

The change to its present name of Department of Adult Education in 1964 marked a turning point in the orientation of the Department. It was reconstituted to do both extra-mural work and the teaching of courses leading to the award of Certificate, Diploma and First degree of the University.

The Philosophy of the Department

The Department operates on a pragmatic philosophy which provides broad academic and practical foundation in Adult Education that would enable the University to maintain direct contact with the community, prevent graduates from becoming a separate class divorced from the aspirations of fellow citizens spread their influence far and wide and give the public and understanding of what the university is doing.

The Vision and Mission of the Department


To be a foremost Adult Education Department for the promotion of academic excellence geared towards meeting local and global societal needs.


Create a learning culture and environment for all categories of citizens;

Ensure the inclusion and functionality of all vulnerable and minorities;

Serve as a dynamic sustain of society’s salutary values, integrity, culture and tradition;

Contribute to the transformation of the society through creative and innovative research;

Expand the frontier of knowledge through provision of excellent conditions for adult and non-formal learning;

Produce graduates who are worthy in character and sound judgment.


Arising from the philosophy, the objectives of the Department include the followings

(1)   Training of middle and high level manpower for formal and non-formal educational programmes at the following levels:

  • universities
  • secondary schools
  • vocational training institutions
  • teacher training institutions
  • basic literacy

(2)   Researching into adult educational problems in the country with a view to providing empirical information/data.

(3)  Communicating adult educational research information to government and the public at large.

(4)  Rendering adult educational services to Ministries of Education, NGOs and other educational institutions.

Academic Programme

The first in the series of academic courses is a two-year Diploma course in Adult Education and Community Development which was started in October, 1965. The objective of the programme is to produce middle-level manpower for services in the fields of adult education, community development, social welfare and public enlightenment.

In October, 1970, the Department established a one-year Certificate Programme in Trade Unionism and Industrial Relations. Again, this is meant to produce middle-level manpower for services in the field of personnel management in industrial and general administration.

In March 1971, the Senate of the University approved the syllabuses for Adult Education as a subject for the Bachelor of Education degree (B.Ed). The Senate approved the old two-year M.Ed and Ph.D programmes of the Department in June 1973; and in 1978 it approved the one-year M.Ed, M.Phil, M.Phil/Ph.D and Ph.D programmes. These were modified in 1984.

The idea of starting some form of Distance Education was first mooted by the Department of Adult Education of this University in the mid-sixties. It was then entitled “Pilot Correspondence Programme in Science Subject”. The first set of External Studies programme students, numbering over 1000 and drawn from all parts of the country, matriculated on 8 April, 1989. The programme started as an experimental one covering all geographical zones. About half of the faculties of the University participated in the programme at the initial stage. The exceptions were the Faculties of Agriculture, Medicine, Pharmacy, Law and Technology. The External Studies programme has transformed to Distance Learning programme (DLC). After it operated under the umbrella of Adult Education Department the University took ownership of the programme.

In the 1990/91 academic session, the professional Master degree in Social Work (MSW) was introduced into the Department’s higher degree programmes. However, the programme is now run by the Department of Social Work which was carved out of the Department of Adult Education. Similarly, the Centre for Literacy Training and Development Programme for Africa (CLTDPA) was also carved out of the Department in 1999.

In sketching the growth and development of the Department it is important to also outline the service-support programmes and community services which the Department has introduced. In 1968, the Department initiated the establishment of the University Conference Centre. The Centre has provided venue, infrastructural facilities and organizational expertise for local, national and international conferences on general and specialized themes. The Department managed the Centre for about twenty years until the University authorities took it over and commercialized it.

Community Services

Literacy Development

During the 1975/76 academic session the Department, in collaboration with the ministry of Social Development of the then Western State of Nigeria, started an experimental literacy project in Abadina Community, suing the basic literacy syllabus. The syllabus is based on three academic years of nine months each. The objective is to make participants in the programme not only functionally literate but also permanently literate as set out by the UNESCO. They syllabus is divided into three: beginners, intermediate and advanced classes. In the beginners’ class participants are expected to cover academic work that is equivalent to primary. I and II levels of formal education. The intermediate class work is equivalent to that of primaries III and IV while the advanced class work covers the programmes for primaries V and VI. At the end of the three year programme, participants are expected to sit for the primary school leaving certificate examination.

The first sixty participants were enrolled for the experimental project in 1976. They included males and females whose ages ranged from 15 – 56 years. Among them were housewives, carpenters, motor mechanics, small traders etc. In the 1980/81 session a total of 233 adults participated in the programme. It is pertinent to mention that, as a follow-up to the literacy programme, the Department organizes one-year pre-GCE classes which are designed to prepare those who completed the literacy programme and who wish to further their formal education, for at least the GCE examination. Because of the Literacy activities of the Department, it won the International Reading Association Literacy of Mr. Malcons Adeseshiah in 1989. The Department again won the UNESCO Chair in the Application of ICT to Literacy Promotion in 1998.

Community Development Activities

Idi-Ose settlement area has for some years now constituted a sort of social laboratory in community development training for the students of the Department. Idi-Ose is situated between the University of Ibadan and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The people of Idi-Ose have had a long history of intermittent displacements from their traditional land for a period of more than sixty years. They were first displaced from their original ‘home land’ to allow for the expansion of the city of Ibadan, and they settled on the site which is now occupied by the University of Ibadan. Around 1949, they were moved for the second time to make room for the permanent location of the University of Ibadan. In 1965 when the present site of the IITA was acquired, the people were displaced again to be resettled in their present location.

As a result of the frequent changes in environment, coupled with the loss of their farm land, especially as farming is their main occupation, the people developed a sense of frustration and apathy which tended to hamper efforts to develop their self confidence and fire their enthusiasm for development. Though a joint effort by both the Nigerian government and the Ford Foundation on behalf of the IITA to rehabilitate the people yielded dividends in terms of visible and tangible projects, of major interests to us here is the type of community development technique which the Adult Education Department applied to motivate the settlers into taking initiatives to improve their situation. One major feature of the role of the Department was the use of films as a motivational tool. Three films which were borrowed from the local branch of the United States Information Service were shown to the villagers at the University’s auditorium. The films were: (1) ‘Djoliba’, a film of a village in the Republic of Mali showing how a community improved itself through self-help with government assistance. Given the scene of the film, which is West Africa, the villagers were able to appreciate and relate the message of the film to their own circumstance. (2) The second film was ‘The people of Kolevu.’ The film conveyed the message of how a co-operative movement becomes necessary for village people when individual effort is unable to cope with local problems. (3) The third film, ‘Rice,’ emphasizes the point that when people undertake development activities of an economic nature, they need not do so the expense of their traditional customs. Evidence shows that the activities of the Department of Adult Education have helped in no small measure to stimulate Idi-Ose villagers into self-help activities.

One more community development activity undertaken by the Department worth mentioning is the Functional Literacy Programme for tobacco farmers in Oyo town. The people of the area derive about 60% of their earnings from tobacco farming and the programme was designed to enhance their farming skills in the production of tobacco.


For over a decade now, the Department has been running seminars, conferences and workshops for both public and private organisations. Prominent among these are the annual seminars on Functional Literacy, Industrial Relations and Trade Unionism. These seminars have gone a long way towards bridging the gap between ‘town and gown,’ so to speak, for they attract hundreds of adult education practitioners, trade unionists, employers of labour and policy makers to the University campus annually. The seminars have remained an effective medium for making as large a part of Nigeria as possible functionally literacy through the promotion of links between academic subjects and the every-day interests of adults.

In 1980, the Department organized a National Seminar on Community Development. The seminar was run on a experimental basis in the hope that, with the experience gained from the exercise, more seminars of that nature would in future be organized for the benefit of community development practitioners. Expectedly more of such seminars have been organized.

Training Programmes

In September 1982, the Nigerian Federal Government launched a Mass Literacy Campaign aimed at creating a permanently literate society within a span of ten years. For the campaign to be successful the country needs, among other things, many professional adult educators. In response to the request by the Federal Ministry of Education, the Department in 1982 started a two-tier special training programme for senior and intermediate level adult education personnel. The programme for the senior cadre personnel is a three-month in-service course, while that of the intermediate level personnel is a nine-month in-service course. After their training the functionaries were expected to organize and supervise literacy programmes at the state, local government and zonal levels.

Collaboration between the Department and International Development Partners (IDPs)

The Department realize the fact that networking, building of bridges and partnering is an important feature of Non-Formal Education. Hence, its collaboration with IDPs such as UNESCO, UNICEF, BRITISH COUNCIL, IFESH, DVV/IZZ, Pro-Literacy to mention but a few. The attendant results of this partnering include an increased capacity building, sound policy formulation, development of both rural and urban areas for sustainable national development and a repositioned ‘‘Town and Gown’’ relationship among others.

Vocational/Skill Acquisition Programme

The Department now repositioning itself to face the challenges thrown up by globalization and the millennium development goals. In this connection, it has opened, vocational skill acquisition centres for the following activities:

1)      Soap and detergent making

2)      Candle making

3)     Tye and Dye

4)     Pomade making

5)     Stove-thread makin

6)     Sewing

7)     Basic computer literacy

List of Past Heads of Department of Adult Education to Date

  1. Mr. Robert K. A. Gardiner 1949-1953
  2. Prof. Ayo Ogunsheye 1953-1961; 1962-1970
  3. Prof. S. O. Tomori 1970-1977
  4. Prof. J. A. Akinpelu 1977-1979, 1981-1983
  5. O. Sonubi Ag. 1979-1981
  6. Prof. J. T. Okedara 1983-1987; 1990-1991; 1997-1999
  7. Prof. M. A. Omolewa 1987-1990; 1994-1997
  8. Prof. C. N. Anyawu 1991-1994; 1999-2000
  9. Prof. M. A. LanreOmole 2000-2003
  10. Prof. M. O.Akintayo 2003-2006
  11.  Dr. R. A. Aderinoye 2009 – Jan. 2010
  12.  Dr. Deborah A. Egunyomi 2010-2012
  13.   Dr. AbidoyeSarumiFeb.-July, 2012
  14. Dr. Omobola O. Adelore 2012-2014
  15.  Prof. Deborah A. Egunyomi 2014-2018   
  16. Prof. R. A. Aderinoye – 2018 – to date