The Politics of Nonformal Education in Latin America

By Carlos Alberto Torres | Go to book overview

6
TOWARD A POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY OF ADULT EDUCATION: AN AGENDA FOR RESEARCH ON ADULT EDUCATION POLICYMAKING

This chapter is orgarnized in two main parts. The first presents a brief discussion and overview of the literature on adult education, emphasizing the main short- comings and weaknesses of the major arguments and underlying conceptualizaU+00A- tions. The second presents an alternative theoretical view of adult education and the research problems that arise from it. The thrust of the argument in the second part is that a theory of the state is needed to understand current adult education practices and policies in dependent capitalist societies.


CURRENT CONCEPTIONS AND GOALS OF ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAMS

By definition, adult education and literacy training programs have a broad range of goals and use several methods and strategies. In general, adult education is conceived of as a means of providing a vast range of skills, abilities, intellectual patterns, and social and political values for a growing sector of a nation's population. Sometimes overlapping with the notion of basic education as defined by the World Bank ( World Bank, 1974), adult education is assumed to be different from universal primary education insofar as it is concerned with the minimum learning needs of a specially identified group, particularly in Third World countries. It tends to transcend the hierarchy of the educational system and is provided in different forms in different countries, through both nonformal and formal means.

Nonetheless, the range of aims and goals of adult education activities varies from developing positive attitudes toward cooperation, work, community, and national development, and further learning to the teaching of functional literacy and numeracy+ADs- from providing a scientific outlook on health, agriculture, and the

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