The God that Failed. Lifelong learning: From Utopianism to Instrumentalism

Mina O'Dowd

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Sammanfattning

As the saying goes, “a beloved child has many names”. So, too, is the case with the concept to be dealt with in this paper. Over the years various concepts have been used to denote education in a lifetime perspective, such as “education permanente”, recurrent education and lifelong learning. There are many who have disputed the correctness or appropriateness of one or the other concepts. Boudard (2001), for example, argues “some researchers maintain that today the concept of recurrent education, originally advanced by OECD, is the most widely recognized as the strategy that leads to lifelong learning, although the concept of lifelong learning often comes to mind”, citing Tuijnman, 1989; and OECD, 1973.
Given the lack of clarity in the above argument, it is not surprising that confusion abounds as to what lifelong learning is, what the “strategy” entails and who it benefits. The aim of this article is to present a critical perspective on lifelong learning, such as it has developed over the years through my own work and the work of others.
First, however, it is important to consider the birth of this “beloved child”, to understand from whence it came and under what circumstances. Despite the fact that much has been written about this topic, there are few who mention the fact that as Minister of Education (1967-1969) Olof Palme introduced in Sweden the concept of “återkommande utbildning”, which literally translated means recurrent education. Palme himself motivated this reform strategy as a means by which “to rectify after the fact, to break down the class barriers to education” . In other contexts, the same concept has been viewed as a political strategy to divert attention from the failure of the Social Democratic party to expand access to higher education at the rate promised (O’Dowd, 2000).
Originalspråkengelska
Titel på värdpublikationThe Bulgarian Comparative Education Society, Conference proceedings, Vol. 7, 2009
RedaktörerJames Ogunleye, Bruno Leutwyler, Charl Wolhuter, Marinela Mihova
Volym7
StatusPublished - 2009

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Volym7

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

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