Beyond Rhetoric

Adult Learning Policies and Practices

by

Adults with busy lifestyles, whatever their education level or employment situation, may well ask why they should resume learning. The reality is that the changing requirements of knowledge-based societies, skill shortages and the increasing importance of civil participation and social cohesion drive the need to continually update adults' skills and knowledge. Yet those who are most in need are often precisely the ones who participate least in adult learning and training programmes.

This publication aims to identify what works in the policy and practice of adult learning, drawing on the experience of nine OECD countries: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (England). It defines the features of a desirable system of adult learning, including ways to motivate adults to learn and methods to deliver appropriate services. Some countries rely more on individual incentive mechanisms; others use national strategies and public supply; still others apply measures to encourage the private market.

This book will be indispensable to policy makers and those involved in the practice of adult learning.