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ERIC Number: EJ795121
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 12
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-1474-9041
What's the Point of Lifelong Learning if Lifelong Learning Has No Point? On the Democratic Deficit of Policies for Lifelong Learning
Biesta, Gert
European Educational Research Journal, v5 n3-4 p169-180 2006
This article provides an analysis of shifts that have taken place in policy discourses on lifelong learning by organisations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and cultural Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union. The article documents the shifts in these discourses over time, analyses the changes in content of these discourses (both in terms of what is included and what is excluded in the discussion), and explores the intended and unintended consequences that follow from these ways of thinking about (policy for) lifelong learning. The article documents a shift towards understanding the point and purpose of lifelong learning primarily in economic terms and far less in relation to the personal and the democratic function of lifelong learning. It is argued that under the conditions of the learning economy lifelong learning itself has become understood as an individual task rather than as a collective project and that this has transformed lifelong learning from a right to a duty. This raises important questions about who has the democratic right to set the agenda for lifelong learning. It also raises important issues about the motivation for lifelong learning and points particularly towards the predicament of the lifelong learner who has to engage in forms of learning without being able to control his or her own "agenda" for learning. The rise of the learning economy has also put a stress on the democratic potential of lifelong learning, which is one of the most worrying consequences of the rise of the discourse of the learning economy. Since transnational policy documents have a strong "agenda-setting" function for the development of national policies and practices, it is important at a national level to be aware of the assumptions, implications and intended and unintended consequences of such policy discourses. (Contains 1 figure and 3 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A