Importance Of Adult Education

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Adult education is defined by “the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)” (Tight, 2002, p. 63) as learning programmes that are designed for many different learning stages and requirements that men and women want to partcipate in throughout their life (Tight, 2002). These learning programmes can range from formal to non-formal “as well as education with a collective social purpose” (Tight, 2002, pp. 63-64). This essay will begin by explaining the purpose of adult education in todays present society. The essay will then go on to defining social democracy and neo-liberalism, followed by multiple comparisons of the two theories and their importance in the development and conceptulization of adult education.
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This is informed by the value of social justice and the assumption that increasing levels of education contributes to increasing equality (bell hooks; Freire). Over time a second purpose has been added and this is the economic one in that adult education and adults need to contribute to the economy by becoming more skilled or educated. This is based on human capital theory’s assumption that higher levels of education means that workers can be more productive increasing the strength of the economy (Williams, Olssen, Mann). Within these two purposes is the third purpose which is to educate citizens with the values and cultural norms of the dominant (Williams, …show more content…
In the year of 1984 in New Zealand, there was a new elected government (labour party) which started to follow the neo-liberal trend including taking away free higher education, the national party when elected in only increased and semented this change. Jobs were now diversifying so there was now a demand for more specialised roles. This is partly why the competition started increasing and we started to see a gap in the economy and increasing gaps between the rich and poor. Because whoever could train in these spcecialised jobs were going to earn a lot more money. This is where the education system changed and education was not for self-development, it was now for getting a job. Education became voluntary participation on the neo-liberal ideas of individual responsibility (to get a well paying job). The cumulative effect of neo-liberal reforms in the field of education was a distinct shift in purpose from education serving social, political as well as personal development, towards an ecocnomic and capitalist system that focuses greatly on the job

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