Adult and Community Education: A Model for Higher Education?

Connolly, Brid (2006) Adult and Community Education: A Model for Higher Education? In: Maynooth Philosophical Papers. National University of Ireland, Maynooth, 36-46..


Any discussion about the nature and meaning of higher education has to take place inthe context of enormous changes in society, probably on the scale of the IndustrialRevolution. However, while the Industrial Revolution was driven by the economy as asocial institution, with subsequent social and cultural transformations, the knowledgerevolution is driven by technology and social change pivoting on democratisation. Asa society, we are moving closer to individuation, within community and the social,amid discourses that construct our sense of reality and of our identities. This articlewill consider the key question for higher education: in what way ought it servesociety? For those who defer to market forces, the value will be in terms of laws ofeconomics, profit and loss. However, the meaning and value of higher education isunderpinned by a basic ideological stance, if the answer includes priority for fosteringplaces and environments for learning and scholarship in order to improve, ultimately,the lives of people in society. This is the position that I take, in my work in adult andcommunity education. In this article I will consider the parallels between liberationmovements-such as the women's movement--and adult and community education,as adult and community education has developed over the past twenty years inIreland. The women's movement, for example, has been pivotal in changingdiscourses around femininity and masculinity, problematizing both, butsimultaneously enabling individual women and groups of women to reflect criticallyabout their individual lives, drawing conclusions and insights that may be generalised,not only to the total cohort of women as a group (if such an entity can be said toexist), but also translated, as it were, for other oppressed or marginalized groups.' Thearticle will draw on the learning from social movements to illuminate the place ofcitizenship education, in the context of radical humanistic discourses conductedthrough lifelong learning, Finally, it will argue that higher education, underpinned bythe moral positioning around justice and equality, could learn fiom this model, inorder to reassert the meaning and value of its role in society.

[thumbnail of Connolly B 2006.pdf]
Connolly B 2006.pdf

Download (288kB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

View Item