23 SES 07 A, Navigating Shifting Geographies of Lifelong Learning Policies Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 23 SES 08 A
Participation in lifelong learning activities is strongly skewed in favour of the more advantaged groups in society (Boeren, 2016; Desjardins, 2017). Low educated adults, those who do not have a job, or are employed in elementary or low skill jobs tend to participate less. In a knowledge based economy, however, it is important that all adults obtain a sufficient level of competencies to contribute to the economy and society as a whole. This paper aims to further the understanding of how vulnerable groups are being targeted in lifelong learning in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. We aim to present a deep investigation into the different lifelong learning providers available in these countries and into which mechanisms they have put in place to facilitate the learning of the targeted groups. Underpinned by structure and agency approaches, this contribution explores the individual experiences of vulnerable adult learners linked to the role of the available education and training institutions and how these institutions help adults to throughout their participation (e.g. Rubenson & Desjardins, 2009). The paper uses the Comprehensive Lifelong Learning Participation Model (CLLPM), developed by the author (Boeren, 2016), as a theoretical framework. Evidence on the experiences of vulnerable adult learners and the learning contexts in which they participate will be provided based on analyses of case studies in the countries being used in this paper. The two case studies per country focussed on interviews with the adult learners, but also with service providers who were asked to discuss the working of their programmes and institutions in relation to support available at the level of state, underpinned by structure and agency approaches and the CLLPM. The two case studies were selected based on an earlier phase of the ENLIVEN project in which provided an overview on seven different types provision available for these groups, a categorisation constructed based on an in-depth review of the policy related documents (Boeren et al., 2017). The data set will consist of interview transcripts with both the adult learners and staff working at the education and training institutions. Interviews will be grouped into two separate case studies. Results of this task are not yet available but the analyses will shed new light on the ways in which vulnerable adults can be supported to participate in lifelong learning activities and how we can better understand the role of the learning providers in stimulating uptake.
Boeren, E. (2016). Lifelong learning participation in a changing policy context: an interdisciplinary theory. Baskingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan. Boeren, E., Whittaker, S. & Riddell, S. (2017) Provision of seven types of education for (disadvantaged) adults in ten countries: overview and cross-country comparison. Brussels: European Commission. Desjardins, R. (2017). Political economy of adult learning systems: comparative study of strategies, policies and contraints. London: Bloomsbury. Rubenson, K. & Desjardins, R. (2009). The impact of welfare state regimes on barriers to participation in adult education: a bounded agency model. Adult Education Quarterly, 59(3), 187-207.
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