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ERIC Number: EJ877402
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jun
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0955-2308
Escape from Absurdity
Williamson, Bill
Adults Learning, v16 n10 p26-27 Jun 2005
The General Election is over. People now know that the policies for lifelong learning will remain as before: to promote competitiveness through skills and access to educational opportunities for groups previously denied them. The list of potential beneficiaries is a long one: (1) working class people in general (especially those with basic skills deficiencies); (2) ethnic minorities; (3) older people; (4) employees; (5) parents; (6) migrants and asylum-seekers; (7) prisoners; and (8) professionals whose skills have to be updated. People know that such policies have wide international support--in the OECD and the European Union--and that all educational managers (vice chancellors, head teachers, and college principals) and directors of Learning and Skills Councils express public support for the principles of lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is a cradle-to-the-grave issue for New Labour. The policies to drive it forward will be determinedly pursued. Their outcomes will be meticulously measured and inspected. Behind these aims there is a reading of the needs of the future society that is rarely debated and that certainly remained muted during the educational debates of the election. That reading insists on the necessity and desirability of competing effectively within the global economy. This demands a strong basis in skills and in the application of science to new technologies. It has at its core the value of equality of opportunity, for this promotes personal development, employability and long-term security. As a society people devalue vocational education, work-based learning and the learning that comes from social engagement. They could deploy the learning resources of the society in very different ways. states this author, but they do not do so because the powerful constituencies of opinion have to be accommodated at the cost of everyone else. The support for the globalisation of economic life is seriously misguided since it produces an absurd, unsustainable, divided and violent world. Williamson contends that people have to re-think their lifelong learning goals from a very different set of premises. They have to ask some different questions and be organised in different ways to discover the answers to them. Balanced development and environmental sustainability must be central to all efforts to fend off absurdity.
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
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom