Adult education in Australia: shifting identities 1980–2000
In this paper we analyse changes in the provision of adult education in Australia in the 20 years to 2000. We do so by identifying the ways in which adult education has responded to global trends and issues relating to demography, the 'knowledge economy', the changing workplace, and the changing role of the state from a 'provider' to a 'purchaser' of education. Perhaps the key change in adult education since 1980 is that it has been reconfigured as 'adult learning', while paradoxically increasing its profile in the guise of the 'ACE' sector, and thus standing alongside TAFE and the universities as a major postsecondary education provider. We argue that adult education provision in 2000 is more widely recognized, inclusive of more activities, more central, better managed, more abundant, and that it has recognizably responded to the changing context in which it is located.
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