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Adult and community education policy in Aotearoa New Zealand 2000–2014: neoliberal influences?

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Changes in tertiary education policy in Aotearoa New Zealand in the last decade have impacted on adult and community education (ACE). Marginalized and understood as non-formal education at the turn of the century, ACE is now part of the ‘tertiary landscape’. It is explicitly steered by education policy, its role severely narrowed, its emphasis shifted from empowerment, equity, active citizenship to preparation for employment and skills for work. This article explores the policy developments which have led to the changes and analyses possible links between the policies and three neoliberal suppositions: free market economics, the role of the state and homo economicus. It concludes that policies have been influenced by a neoliberal hegemony under both Centre-left Labour-led and Centre-right National-led governments, and that neoliberalism is likely to remain dominant into the future.
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Keywords: Aotearoa New Zealand; adult education; neoliberalism; policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Massey University, New Zealand

Publication date: November 2, 2014

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