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Lifelong learning policies and discourses: critical reflections from Aotearoa, New Zealand

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Abstract:

This article examines New Zealand experiences and understandings of lifelong education and lifelong learning over the past 30 years or so. It investigates the place of lifelong education and lifelong learning discourses in shaping public policy in Aotearoa as well as questions about the similarities and differences between the discourse in New Zealand and in Europe and the UK. The aim of the paper is to throw light on the following questions: what effects, if any, have notions of lifelong education or lifelong learning had on public policy discourses on tertiary education and the education of adults? Is there evidence to suggest that notions of either 'lifelong education' or 'lifelong learning' have provided a vision or sense of purpose or set of guidelines in developing public policies? Have they served to justify or legitimate new initiatives or funding arrangements? And, if so, what is the nature of this influence? Finally, in the light of this discussion the article also examines the question whether notions of 'lifelong education' and 'lifelong learning' as they have featured in the academic and policy literature are predominantly located in a Euro-centred discourse and hence how they might be reconstituted to reflect more adequately discourses of learning and education in other parts of the world.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/026037042000311488

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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