According to the UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) 1952, Adult education has been associated with teaching of literacy and with such remedial measures as the night school for adults who have missed the opportunity for formal schooling. The concept of adult education has been broadened considerably so as to cover the activities of a wide range of institutions or agencies and to include content as wide as life itself. In essence, adult education is so closely related to the social, political and cultural conditions of each country that no uniform or precise definition can be arrived at.
The first international congress on comparative study on Adult education (1962) defined adult education as the “process whereby persons who no longer attend school on regular and full time basis undertake sequential and organized activities with the conscious intention on bringing about changes in information, knowledge, undertakings or skills, appreciation and attitudes or for the purpose of identifying and solving personal or community problem.
In 1976, UNESCO came up with a modified definition saying “the entire body of organized process, whatever the content, level and method, whether they prolong or replace initial education in the schools, colleges or universities as well as in apprenticeship, whereby persons regarded as adults by the society to which they belong develop their abilities, enrich their knowledge, improve their technological or professional qualifications and bring about changes in their attitudes or behavior in two fold perspectives of full personal development and participation in balanced and independent social, economic and cultural development.
Social change on the other hand, in its basic sense means change in social structure. Herbert spencer (1802-1903) noted that society could be seen as if it were a living creature. Societies, like all living creatures go through a process of evolution (gradual development) similar to the sort of biological evolution for living creatures specified by Darwism. That is, societies evolve time. In his view, general path of such evolution is from simple structures to complex structures, from homogeneity or sameness to differentiation.
By change in social structure, it is meant change in Economic structure (that is the means of life), change in cultural structure (that is the intrinsic ends and values of society like the institutions and associations concerned with knowledge, art, religion, recreation etc) and lastly, change in the regulative structure (that is the structures for the control of human relations like the machinery of law, the moral and religious codes as well as conventions and fashions).
Assuming Mr X learnt to read and write the European script and became a policeman. However, he lost the skills of the primitive domestic technology he had acquired while young, and so was not able to transmit them to his children. His grandchildren did not even know how the teacups they were using were made, although they could sing European rhymes designed to meet the requirement of the European environment, and talked about shoes and fine dresses. Anthropologists call this type of change social and cultural change. It can be progressive as well as regressive.