Beyond the learning society: the learning world?
In today's post‐modern world of difference, and amidst globalising forces of insidious convergence, this paper explores how far the concepts of lifelong learning and learning society embrace international worldviews. It conducts a brief excursion into literature that has explored learning society models. It also looks at an increasing number of voices from across the developing world, especially Africa, where a more globally aware and context sensitive agenda for lifelong learning is advocated. Definitions of lifelong learning and related policy papers from Scotland, England and Finland in response to the European Memorandum for Lifelong Learning are compared with definitions of lifelong learning and related policy documents from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana in relation to the Southern African Development Community's equivalence to the EU document. To broaden the picture, reference to recent historical analyses of polices in Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong will also be made. The core questions, drawn from a broadly critical theory perspective, ask: what kind of learning societies are being envisaged as a result of national and international policy statements? What are the implications for global understanding, tolerance of difference and education for all? How global is our vision?
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