Broadcast: December 4, 2003
This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Education Report.
Millions of Americans take part in adult education programs. Some adults are completing high school, college or graduate school work. They attend classes designed especially for working people on weekends or at night. Other adults take classes by mail or on their computers. For example, the University of Arizona Extended University is one of many colleges now providing such courses.
Other adults learn job skills like computer science or woodworking. Still other adult students learn to read or improve their English.
Some adult students are not trying to finish their education or learn job skills. Instead, they want to explore new interests. They want to learn to speak a foreign language, play a musical instrument or take good pictures. They attend continuing education programs at a community college or public school. For example, Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, offers many classes. They teach adults how to build a house or how to write their memories.
An agency in the federal Department of Education supervises public adult education programs. Also, the government offers classes in many subjects for adults through the departments of Agriculture and Defense. So do private companies, labor unions and other organizations. These subjects include the arts, science and business.
Adult education classes meet in schools, public libraries and business offices. They also meet in religious centers and shopping centers. Classes in nature sciences and sports often take place outside.
Education experts say the large number of retired Americans is a major reason for the popularity of adult education. These people say they want to continue developing their brains.
Some programs for older adults include travel. For example, the nonprofit organization Elderhostel serves hundreds of thousands of people over age fifty-five. One Elderhostel program takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana. This program teaches older adults about the culture of this famous city. Students travel there to learn about New Orleans food, music, history, art and building design.
Today, more and more American adults are proving that education is not only for young people. This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Jerilyn Watson. This is Steve Ember.