Volume 43 (2020)

Researching and Analyzing Adult Education Policies

List of Contents 2020

Volume 43 of the International Yearbook of Adult Education is dedicated to Researching and Analyzing Adult Education Policies and is edited by Simona Sava from the University of Timisoara, Romania, as a guest editor and Michael Schemmann. Our starting point to pick this topic is the observation that research on both national and international adult education policies has increased massively during the last decade. What is more, it seems that this dynamic is also fueled by international comparison in the field of adult education policies, which can be traced back to an overall intention to find best practice solutions for societal problems. Thus, the goal of this volume is to display current research questions and pieces of work, theoretical and methodological approaches as well as recent empirical findings.


Eva Bonn, Michael Schemmann

Theories and Theoretical Concepts in Adult Education Policy Research

Even though research on adult education policies has become a dynamic and much-noticed research field in the last decades, there is no explicit theory of educationalpolicy analysis. Instead, theoretical approaches from reference disciplines such as sociology, philosophy, economics or law are commonly adapted and applied in researchon education policies. This article identifies institutionalist approaches, multi-level theoretical approaches and the governmentality concept as three key components of theory in adult education policy research. The aim is to outline basic assumptions of each of the three theoretical approaches and analyze their usage in adult education policy research. In an exemplary manner, it is explored which insights these theoretical approaches produce for the scientific community and which perspectives for further research are opened up.

Lisa Breyer

Research interests and methodological approaches of policy analysis in adult education research

The article deals with an evolving strand in adult education research which is focused on policy. It is concerned with the question which methods are adopted by adult education research to generate findings regarding policy and how they depend on specific theoretical perspectives. To answer this research question, exemplary studies on international policy regarding the concept of lifelong learning are analysed and compared. Thereby, it is emphasized that a diversity of methods is necessary to research the complex object of adult education policy and that ‘traditional’ methods have to be supplemented by newly adopted perspectives and approaches.

Kapil Dev Regmi

“Lifelong learning opportunities for all”: Who pays for it?

In 2015, the UN declared “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” as one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. Lifelong learning has been regarded as the global goal of education; however, it is not clear what lifelong learning, as a policy idea, means to different countries. This paper problematizes this policy idea by drawing a contrast between two key terms lifelong learning and lifelong education and argues that there has been an increasing emphasis on the former. The policy implication of the emphasis on lifelong learning over lifelong education is that learning opportunities are increasingly provided by private institutions and individuals are expected to manage time and resources for their learning. Because of socioeconomic inequalities not all adults are equally able to afford learning opportunities. The paper concludes that the SDGs may not be achieved by economically poor countries unless national governments take responsibility for ensuring lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Diana Trevino-Eberhard, Katrin Kaufmann-Kuchta

Regulation and Financing of Continuing Higher Education in England and Spain: A Comparison of Adult Education Governance Structures in National Contexts

Continuing Higher Education (CHE) as a central part of Adult Continuing Education (ACE) is designed differently in countries. When regarded as a multi-level system, the governance of CHE involves actors on different levels and may be located within Higher Education (HE), ACE or even vocational training. Generally, interrelations between these levels is a central research desideratum, in both national and international perspectives. This article applies document analyses to identify relations between the national legal and financial regulations and the provider structures of CHE in England and Spain. Results show that CHE in both countries is primarily regulated within HE and ACE, whereas each country shows strong differences in governance-related competencies and authorities. This is the first step of an in-depth theory-guided description and comparison of national frameworks and provider structuresof CHE in two European countries.

Elizabeth A. Roumell, Florin D. Salajan, Aaron J. Reyna

An Analysis and Critique of U.S. Adult and Workforce Education Policy in a Historical Perspective

It is essential to cultivate a more nuanced understanding of the federal level policies that established Adult and Workforce Education (AWE) as we currently know it. Looking at the governance structures and codified values regarding the education of adults in the form of legislation and federal policy helps us more accurately ascertain the relationship between institutional arrangements and nationally valued educational ends. Examining national-level policy through a historical lens to more recent developments provides deeper insight into and sheds light on the current climate for public AWE programming. Our aim for this article is to present an overview and précis of our historical analysis pertaining to the AWE policy domain in the United States, with emphasis on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, for a broader international audience.

Suwithida Charungkaittikul

Lifelong Learning Policies in Thailand: A Comprehensive Analysis and Reform Recommendations

The advancement of lifelong learning (LLL) is a crucial agenda for many countries, especially for Thailand. It meets the rising demand for continuous learning which is mainly focused on economic drivers that improve the quality of life. This study applies a qualitative research approach with the primary objective to analyze and synthesize various documents using an integrative literature review and a content-based approach for identifying promising LLL policies in Thailand. The paper is comprised of four main parts: providing an overview of the Thai educational system; defining terminology, and specifically the terms that explain LLL in Thailand; analyzing the status quo (opportunities and challenges) of LLL policies in Thailand; and providing recommendations to strengthen the role of LLL in Thailand. The study further demonstrates an understanding of Adult Learning and Education (ALE). It concludes that every sector should develop and promote LLL, making it an evolving and integrated kind of education for life and learning society. It also articulates that LLL has now become a vital tool to promote economic and social development in Thailand. While the advancement towards a LLL society will continue, Thailand has a number of actions to implement before it can proclaim the achievement of education for all by 2030. Lessons learned from the preliminary findings may help to identify the key facilitating factors as well as bottlenecks that can be useful in the formulation of comprehensive and applicable LLL opportunities for all.