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Lifelong learning under a comprehensive national qualifications framework - rhetoric and reality

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This article explores some of the critical questions arising out of the massive changes currently taking place in post-compulsory education and training in Aotearoa New Zealand. In particular it focuses on the establishment of the new qualifications framework within the specific economic and political context of the late 1980s and early 1990s. This new framework was designed to be more comprehensive in scope than anything comparable elsewhere in the world. Its protagonists see in it the basis of a system that offers new incentives to everyone to learn and a vast extension of educationaland training opportunities to people of all ages- truly a system of lifelong learning, focused on meeting the needs of the individual learner. Whilst not rejecting the progressive aspects of the reforms, this article seeks to expose some of the realities which may be too readily ignored as governments and planners engage in the rhetoric of utopian thinking. In particular, in the first place, it examines some of the ways in which the historical and material conditions of late-capitalism, and the discourses to which these conditions give rise, are influencingthe changes, and in the second place it undertakes a critique of ideologies underlying the reform process.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1999

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