Conseil supérieur de l'éducation
 
Brief on the Draft Policy on ADULT EDUCATION

In May 2001, the Minister of State for Education and Youth, François Legault, and the Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Rochon, released the Draft Policy on Adult Education from the Perspective of Lifelong Learning. The Conseil supérieur de l’éducation considers the publication of this draft policy an important step, one that has been highly anticipated by stakeholders. In August, the Conseil presented a brief on the draft policy to Mr. Legault.

 

Education that looks beyond enhancing employability

The Conseil began its brief—and this is the principal message conveyed to the ministers responsible for the policy—by deploring the almost exclusive emphasis placed on education related to employment.

In the last few years, the concern for developing skills and qualifications needed on the labour market has taken on an increasingly central role in the offerings of continuing education services. Obviously, education needs to be in touch with the economic situation and fluctuations in the unemployment rate. However, as with education in the youth sector, if we are to promote education that continues throughout an adult’s life, we cannot limit its orientation to simply adapting education to satisfy the needs of rapid insertion into the labour market or maintaining a job.

A policy on adult education from the perspective of lifelong learning should be guided by the promotion of several facets: educational values and citizenship education; access to knowledge, culture and information for the greatest number possible; and the continuous development of general and occupational competencies. In short, it is imperative that such a policy take into account the educational needs of the whole person.

Therefore, while the Conseil adheres to the principles and orientations of the draft policy, it recommends an additional orientation that aims to broaden the scope of the policy. It formulates this orientation as follows: Ensure access to continuing education for the greatest number of adults possible, in particular for those who have become distanced from it, allowing them to acquire knowledge and develop competencies that will make them better able to fulfill their various roles in society, as individuals, as parents, as workers and as citizens.

It is essential that the government policy on adult education from a perspective of lifelong learning be oriented toward the requirements of the 21st century. It is in this respect that the Conseil expressed its strong reservations in its brief to the Minister. The Conseil emphasized the necessity of enriching the draft policy in order to meet the evolving and multiple needs of society. In conclusion, the Conseil considers that, while in many respects, the draft policy contains elements that are promising because they rally the different players concerned, some major changes are needed.

Panorama • Volume 6, Number 3 • November 2001

Mémoire (in French) - (PDF)

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