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ERIC Number: EJ800001
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0955-2308
Education for Its Own Sake--and No Buts!
Hayes, Dennis
Adults Learning, v19 n1 p28-29 Sep 2007
None of the respondents to NIACE's Big Conversation offered a non-instrumental defence of education. In this article, the author contends that it seems "education for its own sake" is no longer valued--even by those who should care most. The author has just been invited to speak at a conference where a keynote speech is entitled "What is education for?" For anyone with a philosophical background, the only answer one could give to this question would be very simple: "Nothing! Education is not for anything." This straightforward answer, however, does not resolve a simple confusion that is implicit in the question. Philosophers of education make a distinction between things that are means to ends and things that are ends (or ends in themselves). Education is an end rather than a means and asking "What is education for?" leads everyone to think that education is a means to some other end. A sour note in the Big Conversation was that what teachers and ordinary people said paralleled the failure of government and policy wonks to defend education as something of value, without a "BUT." Being sympathetic to the views of those who want to turn adult education into personal and social training is a tactic that may win them over for a while or produce some funding, or a "feel good" factor in sorely pressed adult educators, states this author, but it undermines people's belief in the value of education. A real defence of adult education requires a defence of education for its own sake.
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP, UK. Tel: +44-1162-044200; Fax: +44-1162-044262; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A