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[xmca] Question about workers ed in social democratic countries

Hi --

I was at a presentation last week at our labor educator's conference. There were two presenters who appeared to have a fundamentally different view of workers' education. They were both from IFWEA (International Federation of Workers' Education Associations). One was from Sweden and one was from South Africa. The one from Sweden was talking about managing the social impact of unemployment by increasing the number and types of adult education opportunities -- free, maybe even accompanied by stipends. One of the session participants, from the US, asked if this was some kind of "educational Keynsianism" and the Swedish speaker agreed, with a smile. 

(Note -- people in the US are talking about extending unemployment benefits and are aware the adult ed/retraining enrollments are counter-cyclical, but we do NOT program adult ed policy as a tool for managing unemployment.)

The woman from South Africa, who actually spoke BEFORE rather than after the Swedish guy, framed workers' education differently and said that much of the discourse about workers' education was "pedantic," which she said was a feature of social democratic education policy.

Can someone explain what's going on here?

I think that this may be where in the US, workers' education (labor education) differs from adult education -- but we don't have these terms (social democratic) to handle that distinction with. If I'm right in nosing out this difference it would explain the way Knud Illeris talks about "resistance." 

Thanks in advance --


Helena Worthen
Clinical Associate Professor
Labor Education Program University of Illinois
504 East Armory, Champaign, IL 61820

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