ERG SES H 02, Parallel Session H 02
The aim of this paper is to analyze the specific features of adult education as a social institution, discuss its roles and potentialities for solving social and professional problems of adults in developed European urban societies and define the priorities for Ukraine with a due consideration of the best European practices.
Theoretical framework is based on concepts of the modern theory of urbanization (Castells M., Gibbs J., Gulick J., Harvey D., Kyummel T., Sassen S.), urban education (Gottdiener M., McClafferty, K., Torres, C.) and adult education (Illeris K., Jarvis P., Knoll J., Knowles M., Martin L., Rubenson K., Tight M., Tuijnman A.), as also on documents of UNESCO, OECD and others.
Our research was based on the assumption that urbanization is one of the trends of the modern European society development. The specific feature of the current urbanization process is its dynamism, active influence on the organization of social sphere of adults’ urban life. This allows considering urbanization a global social process driven not only by the growth of urban population, but also by concentration of key economic, financial and political functions in world’s largest cities, which leads to aggravation of international, cultural, economic and political conflicts. These, as well as a number of other features of global urbanization, push the European society towards searching for new ways of social adaptation of adults in the modern urban society. The key role in this process belongs to adult education as a special social institution, noted for its flexibility, dynamism and ability to ensure prompt responses to current social and personal educational needs of adults.
Judging from our research of adult education as a social institution in Europe (Germany, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway), we came to a conclusion that the primary goal of adult education as a social institution is to provide social and educational assistance to adults in their adaptation to life in a big city and engagement in professional, social and cultural life of the society.
The analysis of adult education as a social institution permitted identifying its characteristics which outline its potentialities. They are:
- having its own development vector, ability to influence the development of urbanized society, its economy, politics, culture;
- ability to exert progressive influence on the society: propagate humanism, stabilize the society, facilitate democracy;
- holding firm positions in the urban society’s social life through performing a number of important social functions.
It has been found that adult education as a social institution of the modern European urban society performs social functions of:
- promoting economic development (training staff for all spheres of life, ensuring occupational mobility and proper qualification levels);
- being a critical tool for building a democratic civil society;
- educating and personal enhancement of adults;
- assisting adults in social adaptation to the urbanized social environment (global informatization, economic and political collapses, national conflicts and other social disturbances);
- being a mechanism of social protection and rehabilitation of certain categories of adults, such as unemployed, migrants, disabled, etc.
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