02 SES 13 C, Adult Education and Inclusion
Denmark, Finland and Sweden are Nordic welfare states that historically have put a high value on basic and adult education. Citizens should have equal opportunities to participate in education and society. Adult education has been a means to include citizens in active societal participation. This has been realised by providing special support for those in need. This educational ideology is today challenged by the dominance of neo-liberal market economies. Adult education has increasingly become reduced to only one of its functions, that of employability, ‘learning for earning’. Besides formal education, informal learning is harnessed for developing and maintaining essential work-related skills. Budget cuts have affected adult education while resources have increased on guidance and counselling, transition from basic to upper secondary education, one-step-up activities for the low-skilled, and continuing training for workforce. Recently, drawing attention to the educational needs of newcomers – migrants and asylum seekers – has revealed the largely unattended challenge of recognizing the educational needs of young adults with low education. Lack of basic education leaves them in a vulnerable position related to the relatively highly-educated mainstream population. Social inclusion of vulnerable groups through differentiated support actions provides a lens to discuss, how adult education may regain its leading role in enhancing equal opportunities towards active political, social and economic participation in the Nordic societies.
References Pantzar, E. (2007) Introduction to Lifelong learning and adult education in Finland. https://www.die-bonn.de/doks/pantzar0701.pdf Fejes, A., Runesdotter, C. & Wärvik, G-B. (2016) Marketisation of adult education: principals as business leaders, standardised teachers and responsibilised students. International Journal of Lifelong Education. 35(6). 664-681 Olesen, H. S.(2014) Adult Education in the Danish Modernization Process. In: Käpplinger, B. & Robak, S. (Eds.) Studies in Proof Theory: International Perspectives in Different Countries. 39-56
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