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Professionalisation of Adult Educators

International and Comparative Perspectives


Susanne Lattke and Wolfgang Jütte

In many regions of the world, professionalisation in adult and continuing education is brought into the focus of educational policy and research. Various fields of practice are looking for scientifical and political support in raising the level of professionalism. While there are no simple lessons to be learned from other countries, a closer analysis of international experience may reveal common and diverging interests. It may also provide worthwhile insights into opportunities and risks surrounding professionalisation. This edited volume is intended to further stimulate international exchange, cross-country approaches and comparative research in this field. It includes contributions to the theoretical debate and to the development of (comparative) research as well as reports on research findings and development activities concerning the professionalisation of adult educators.
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The professionalisation of adult education in Ireland. An exploration of the current discourse, debate and policy developments


← 24 | 25 → Helen Murphy

Adult and continuing education has been part of the education discourse in Ireland for many years, however the Irish Government White Paper “Learning for Life” (Department of Education and Science 2000) was the first significant policy paper setting out national structures, funding streams and regulations for adult education in Ireland. The paper recommended initiatives designed to professionalise the workforce including initial and continuing professional development, nationally recognised posts and structured career paths for adult educators. While there has been significant development in adult and continuing education between 2000 and 2014, including increased funding, a widening of access for adults into further and higher education and a recognition of the unique and diverse needs of the adult learner, the development of adult education as a profession has been slow to materialise. The nature of adult education in Ireland continues to be defined by part time and casual work with little security of tenure, limited opportunities for professional development and a lack of structured career paths for adult educators. Recent policy developments, a new national strategy for further education and training, new regulations introduced by the Department of Education and Skills and the Teaching Council of Ireland coupled with significant structural change in the sector have reignited the debate on professionalisation. The current discussion about professionalisation involves regulatory requirements for qualifications, increased centralised control, national standards and performance indicators for stakeholders. The paper reviews the historical development of adult education in Ireland, explores the policy context...

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