23 SES 06 B, Life Long Learning
Earlier narratives depicted pensioners as weary people for whom society should guarantee a well-deserved rest. But since the early 1980s, Swiss political discourses related to old-age policies have advocated that senior citizens need to be more active, in order to have their social value recognized, and thus, "to age well". Since the first decade of the 2000s, these discourses promoting an active ageing have also noted that it is necessary to provide all old people with skills and competencies that would help them to remain socially integrated after leaving the labour market.
At the same time, education and training policies in Switzerland are being implemented from the perspective of lifelong learning. These policies emphasize the importance for people of all ages to continually train themselves and maintain the knowledge that they have acquired recently, or when they were younger. Political authorities depict such engagement as necessary for individuals’ well-being, but also as an indispensable policy to ensure social cohesion and prosperity.
At first glance, this policy perspective seems likely to promote better social integration for everybody, including all old people. However, the literature demonstrates that, in fact, the latters’ social integration and ability to engage in social activities vary according to inequalities, based on age and class for instance.
Thus, our paper focuses on Swiss politicians’ discourses about both lifelong learning and active ageing. It analyses how they relate to the inequalities among elders, especially concerning class and age, namely to which extent they consider the elders’ unequal abilities to access to lifelong learning, develops valuable skills and competences, and play an active social role.
To do so, we employ a discourse analysis that explores the ways that laws, regulations and reports describe political projects related to both lifelong learning and active ageing in Switzerland. It particularly focuses on the ways that these documents depict the people who are supposed to benefit from the mentionned trainings. The analysis highlights the economistic definition of lifelong learning and its consequences for disadvantaged elders who have little access to knowledge through appropriate training. This critical perspective, in turn, raises questions about the risks that such economistic reading can pose to inclusive thinking about education and training. In so doing, our paper challenges policy makers’ discourses and their tendance to look at elders as a homogeneous group.
Discourse analysis is used that explores the ways that laws, regulations and reports describe political projects related to both lifelong learning and active ageing in Switzerland. It particularly focuses on the ways that these documents depict the people who are supposed to benefit from the mentionned trainings.
The analysis highlights the economistic definition of lifelong learning and its consequences for disadvantaged elders who have little access to knowledge through appropriate training. This critical perspective, in turn, raises questions about the risks that such economistic reading can pose to inclusive thinking about education and training. In so doing, our paper challenges policy makers’ discourses and their tendance to look at elders as a homogeneous group.
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