Kenneth Wain and the Lifelong Engagement with Education
Edited By John Baldacchino, Simone Galea and Duncan P. Mercieca
2. Revisiting “Lifelong Learning” 13 Years after the Memorandum
In academic year 1979–1980, Professor Kenneth Wain introduced me, as well as many other prospective teachers at the University of Malta, to the concept of lifelong education. He delivered an entire unit centering on this subject; he had made this his area of research specialisation at the time, resulting in both a PhD thesis and subsequently an acclaimed book (Wain, 1987). It struck me as being a novel way of looking at the entire complexity of education from “cradle to the grave,” to appreciate the variety of other sources of learning that lie within our midst. Much emphasis was placed on conceiving of the school as an important agency for the preparation of students as lifelong learners, as people being prepared to take charge of their own present and future learning. Little did I anticipate then that this concept would soon start being used by politicians as a means of engaging the emerging doxa and that its variant, lifelong learning, was to become the most widespread term centering on education and training today. It seems to have acquired the status of a “master concept” for educational policy in many parts of the world.
I wrote the first draft of this piece, in honour of Professor Wain, a friend, former teacher, and colleague for the last 23, 10 years after the publication of the European Union (EU) “Memorandum on Lifelong Learning.” Lifelong ← 25 | 26 → learning became part of the doxa that dominated the past decade and led to...
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