The use of cost-benefit analysis in funding continuing education: steering the fifth wheel?
This article builds upon recent interest in models of funding Continuing Education (McGivney 1990, Berrell and Smith 1996, Matkin 1997). It is based on an EU-funded project which examined inter alia current funding models for Continuing Education (CE) within four European Union countries - France, Ireland, Italy and Scotland. The article firstly discusses the breadth of CE. It then investigates the existence of funding models by examining the use of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) in determining course provision in the relevant countries. We argue that while costs and benefits form part of providers' everyday thinking, expression of CBA was generally implicit and never articulated in technical terms. We suggest that providers' value-systems, or ideology, militate against simplistic use of CBA. We conclude by returning to the question of models of funding CE.