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Title: Adult learners versus policies: An insight of adult education in the UK
Authors: Farhan, Dhuha
Keywords: Labour government (1997-2010) and adult education;Purpose of adult education;Adult learner's needs;Adult learner motivations;Evaluation of adult education in UK
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Brunel University School of Sport and Education MPhil Theses
Abstract: This research evaluates adult education policies under the UK’s New Labour Government between 1997 and 2010. It critically analyses the impact of globalisation and changes to new technology on both the conceptualisation and practice of adult education. Personal experience and observations at an adult education centre in Greater London revealed notable changes in this sector over the decade 2001 – 2010, such as a decline in the number of courses offered and in the number of adults enrolling. The literature review has confirmed that a similar pattern has been observed within adult education across the UK, thus suggesting that the decline is not an issue of mismanagement in a specific centre. Research has indicated that the main reason for this decline is the increasing Government focus on solely vocational courses that lead to employment. The research starts with a review of the effect of globalisation and rapid technological change on adult education policies internationally and in the UK. Next, recent national policies in adult education are explored in order to examine the UK Government’s aims for and expectations of adult education. The research then draws on an inductive approach using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to analyse learners’ choices and their journeys through education. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with practitioners (tutors and learning advisors) who worked closely with the learners and were therefore familiar with their needs and expectations. The thesis concludes by arguing that ‘gaining knowledge’ (through adult education) helps adults to increase their self-esteem, improve their networking and acquire new skills, and these are much the same characteristics required for gainful employment. These qualities can be obtained not only through accredited courses but also through non-accredited (and non-vocational) courses. Finally, the study argues that it is important to understand that adult education must be primarily a means of offering learning to all adults, rather than a service with the narrow aim of satisfying only the labour market.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Master of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University on 23 Nov 2012.
Appears in Collections:Education
Dept of Education Theses

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