Global Perspectives on Higher Education and Lifelong Learners  book cover
1st Edition

Global Perspectives on Higher Education and Lifelong Learners

ISBN 9780415675086
Published May 31, 2013 by Routledge
312 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The global expansion of participation rates in higher education continue more or less unabated. However, while the concept of lifelong learning has figured prominently in national and international educational policy discourse for more than three decades, its implications for the field of higher education has remained relatively underdeveloped.

This book focuses on a particular dimension of the lifelong learning: higher education for those who have not progressed directly from school to higher education. Some will embark on undergraduate programmes as mature students, part-time and/or distance students; others wish to return to higher education after having completed (or not completed) a previous academic programme, while increasing numbers participate in postgraduate and continuing studies for a complex mix of professional and personal reasons.

Adopting a comparative and international longitudinal perspective which goes beyond a snapshot view by building on the cases of a core group of ten OECD countries, this timely book investigates the ways in which important new developments impacting on higher education crystallise around the lifelong learning agenda:

  • new technology and open source resources;
  • the changing role of the state and market in higher education;
  • the blurring of public and private boundaries;
  • issues of equity and access in a time of global economic turmoil;
  • the increased emphasis on research and international league tables;
  • the changing nature of the education; and,
  • the complex interaction of international, national and regional expectations which governments and other stakeholders have of universities and other public and private institutions of higher education.

While focussing on the situation in Canada, USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and a wide variety of European countries, the book also assesses the issues from the perspective of developing countries.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Comparative Perspectives  1. All change-no change? Higher education and lifelong learners revisited Maria Slowey and Hans G. Schuetze  Part 2: Europe  2. Austria: Non-traditional students in the 2000s Hans Pechar and Angela Wroblewski  3. Germany: From individual talent to institutional permeability: changing policies for non-traditional access routes in German higher education Andrä Wolter  4. Ireland: Lifelong learning in higher education in Ireland: turbulent times Maria Slowey  5. Portugal: Higher education and lifelong education in Portugal Alberto Amaral and Madalena Fonseca  6. Sweden: Higher education and lifelong learning in Sweden Agneska Bron and Camilla Thunborg  7. United Kingdom: Universities and lifelong learning in the UK – adults as losers, but who are the winners? Mike Osborne and Muir Houston  Part 3: North America  8. Canada: Large archipelago, small bridges and infrequent ferries: lifelong learning and Canadian higher education Hans G Schuetze  9. Mexico: Great expectations, scattered approaches, disjointed results: the rocky road to lifelong learning in Mexican higher education Germán Álvarez-Mendiola  10. USA: Adult higher education and lifelong learning in the USA: perplexing contradictions Carol E. Kasworm  Part 4: Pacific-Australia, Japan and New Zealand  11. Australia: Intensifying performance and learner-centredness in Australian higher education David Beckett and Harsh Suri  12. Japan: Lifelong learning and higher education in Japan Shinichi Yamamoto  13. New Zealand: Lifelong learning and higher education in Aotearoa, New Zealand Brian Findsen  Part 5: Perspectives from two 'Brics' countries  14. South Africa: Higher education in lifelong learning in a middle-income country: But by the grace of champions? Shirley Walters  15. Brazil: Lifelong learning and the role of the university in Brazil: some reflections Ana Canen  Epilogue: A look ahead


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Hans G. Schuetze is a professor emeritus and former Director, Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education and Training, University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Maria Slowey is Director of Higher Education Research and development at Dublin City University, Ireland


"The book serves an important purpose in that it maps the territory for higher education responses to the lifelong learning discourse, showing both contextspecific differences as well as highlighting some similarities." ― Julia Preece, The International Review of Education – Journal of Lifelong Learning