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Reinterpreting lifelong learning: meanings of adult education policy in Portugal, 1999–2010

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This article analyses Portugal’s adult education policy between 1999 and 2010. Our empirical material consists of Portuguese as well as supranational policy documents. We use a theoretical framework which distinguishes three models of public policy, with different views on the roles of public policy and of education: (1) participative policy/emancipatory education, (2) centralised policy/education for social conformity and (3) minimum policy/training for competitiveness. Our results show that European lifelong learning guidelines have been reinterpreted in the Portuguese context, leading to a rapid expansion of adult education provision in an attempt to catch up with European numbers. Although Portuguese policy is a hybrid of the three policy models, latest developments show a dominance of minimum public policies for adult education and training for competitiveness.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Lisbon, Portugal

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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