Ethical Issue in Adult Education and Training



Ethical Issue in Adult Education Adult education is defined as activities deliberately fashioned for the purpose of bringing about learning to persons whose age, social roles, or self perceptions define them as adults (Merriam and Brockett 8). Adult education is seen in different light by different stakeholders, but one sure thing is that it provides opportunities to individuals who had by passed their first chance to be in school. From an individual’s point of view, adult education is yet to be fully embraced by everyone as most of the societal members still look at it as a right gesture at the long time. However, it is critical to identify that no one is so old to get a few lessons. This is because education never harms. In any case, it only makes us better and gives everyone a chance to understand others better. It is this that informs the ethical issue that is going to be discussed in this study. It is not a United States issue but one I consider as a pointer for just what adult education can do. Besides, it highlights issues that probably draw doubt on which direction adult education should take. In this case, the issue concerns an 84 year old man and was featured in The New York Times back in 2004. The old man known as Kimani Nganga Maruge was a Kenyan who had decided to go back to school at the age of 84 after failing to access education in his youthful days. In his interview, he said that he bypassed a chance to be in school to handle his herding responsibilities as demanded by his father. Besides, school facilities present at the time were limited and only a few of his age mates got a chance to enroll in these schools. After independence, it became hard to join school as he had a family to take care of. Besides, he also had to pay school fees for his children (New York Times). The turning point came in 20002 when the Kenyan government scrapped school fees for 1st to 8th Graders. At the time, he had fewer responsibilities as his children had all grown up. He went back to school at the age of 84. this was a surprise not only to his classmates who were 78 years younger but to the school administration and the world as well. His issue attracted the attention of the Kenyan Government which was itself overwhelmed by the number of adults enrolling in schools. They were first concerned on the ability of the old man to keep up with the much younger students. Secondly, they also had to put in place policies which would guide adult education as few existed in the country at the time. The eventual position of the government was that these adults should be taught in separate classrooms (New York Times). However, Maruge, the senior most student, was opposed to this move and insisted that this was a way through which the government sought to alienate the old. Furthermore, he cited that he would feel intimidated when among older students who considerably knew how to read. His argument was that starting at the very initial level with the junior students was the only way to overcome his illiteracy. This story brings into sharp focus a number of issues which though may not characterize the American adult education system, they provide for some ethical issues. One of these is the right of the scholar to choose their involvement in class. As seen in the story the Kenyan government, this had resulted to having the adults in separate classes. This was highly opposed based on different perspectives, though only Maruge’s reason has been highlighted in this case. Is it proper for an individual when yielding enough desire and being aware of their situations and circumstances be left to decide on the classes or schools to join? The other critical issue is the age of enrollment. The single issues as highlighted above involved an 84 year old man thus it is only fair to assume that several others will seek to enroll at the same age or a slightly different age. The ethical issue here is one that seeks to identify whether access to education should be a universal issue in the case of United States, and whether it encompasses all irrespective of age. This calls for a thorough consideration as it borders individual’s rights as well as the government’s or states policy making in regulating or enforcing adult education. Works Cited Marc, Lacey. THE SATURDAY PROFILE. First Grader. Model Student. Great-Grandfather. 03 April 2004. 23 May 2012 . Merriam, Sharan B, and Ralph G. Brockett. The Profession and Practice of Adult Education: An Introduction. Hoboken: John Wiley &amp. Sons, 2007. Print.