The State of Adult Education

Fleming, Ted (2004) The State of Adult Education. Journal of Adult and Community Education in Ireland, 2004. pp. 9-17.

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In the novel The Plague (Camus, 1960) the city of Oran is ravaged by a plague. Tarrou had just reflected on how each one of us “has the plague within” (p. 207). It is wearying to be plague-stricken, he says, and this is why “everybody in the world to-day looks so tired; everyone is more or less sick of plague” (p. 207). All I maintain is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims, and it’s up to us, so far as possible, not to join forces with the pestilences. (Camus, 1960, p. 207) I see pestilences, as I think Camus does, as a metaphor for what is happening in the world. It is difficult to make any comment about our world without referring to Iraq, the mistreatment of prisoners, the motivation of the United States in being there especially having found no weapons of mass destruction. There are pestilences nearer home too – persistent poverty, scandals and corruption. What has this to do with adult education? It has to do with the role of adult education in a democratic society; with what we mean by adult learning and what we teach as adult educators. How to be an active and critical citizen has to be learned. I want to look at the state of adult education in Ireland. I am suggesting that the state here means both the condition in which we now find adult education and the role of the Irish State in adult education. I will briefly outline • some recent developments in adult education; • make some critical comments on the state of adult education; • look at the links between the State and the economy and civil society that have important implications for adult education.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Adult Education
Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
Item ID: 335
Depositing User: Dr Ted Fleming
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2006
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Adult and Community Education in Ireland
Publisher: AONTAS
Refereed: Yes

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