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Title: Adult learning in Malta : insights into current participation, content and forms of adult learning
Authors: Borg, Carmel
Mayo, Peter
Raykov, Milosh
Keywords: Adult education -- Malta
Adult learning -- Malta
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Faculty of Education, University of Malta
Citation: Borg, C., Mayo, P., & Raykov, M. (2016). Adult learning in Malta : insights into current participation, content and forms of adult learning. Msida.
Abstract: ‘Adult education’, ‘adult learning’ and ‘lifelong learning’ are terms which are popular in public discourse today. Indeed they are carriers of notions which sound pleasant to the ear, and which easily garner widespread approval. Who is, after all, not in favour of a society which creates possibilities of learning for adults, which makes education readily accessible beyond compulsory schooling and which portrays it as a lifelong process? The popularisation of these terms, and of the notions they carry, while conducive to consciousness-raising and not negative per se, does conceal some dangers. One of these is when adult education is viewed exclusively as an instrumental tool, possibly also marketed as a product, and not as a means to improve one’s quality of life, to form reflective citizens and to lead to even further opportunities for learning. The study by Faculty of Education colleagues Carmel Borg, Peter Mayo and Milosh Raykov provides insights into the ‘state of the art’ of adult learning in Malta and presents comparisons with several countries worldwide, especially those in the EU. Numerous thought-provoking considerations emerge from the data provided, also in relation to the trends of early-school leaving in Malta. While it is indeed positive to see a number of encouraging patterns, including the participation in education-related activities in adult life, the study clearly shows that much is yet to be achieved locally, especially when taking into consideration variables such as gender and socio-economic status. Borg, Mayo & Raykov’s study also has the merit of providing indications of how one can be pro-active in this sector. It illustrates how locally in adult learning there is an interest in foreign languages and specialized subjects, such as science, in addition to basic and job-specific skills. Other transferable skills, such as problem-solving and working with others, are also viewed as important thereby hinting that, even locally, there is the need for the sector to develop widely, in consonance with the concept of lifewide, besides lifelong, education. Furthermore, through the pilot study which complements the comparative data of their research, the authors highlight the fact that participants mention that they learn from Internet-mediated audiovisual sources, beside television and radio. These data are discussed in what, at the beginning of the study, is defined as the ‘dangers of an overly economistic rendering’, thereby underlining that a balance is to be found between the demands of employment and the development of reflective and critical skills in learners. The latter is particularly important locally, especially in relation to what is often transmitted through the means of communication mentioned above. This study is perfectly in line with the vision that the Faculty of Education has developed recently, summarised by our goal: Promoting an Educated Public in a Participatory Democracy. The recent restructuring of the faculty aims, in fact, to move beyond the faculty’s trademark Initial Teacher Education endeavours, of which it is proud, and engage more directly with the community it serves. This restructuring has led to the creation of the Department of Arts, Open Communities and Adult Education, one of the goals of which is precisely to research and tackle issues related to adult learning locally, as described in Borg, Mayo & Raykov’s study. In conclusion, besides stressing the merits of this work as another milestone in the extensive body of research that the Faculty of Education has produced over the years, I feel that it provides an opportunity for those who are not necessarily experts in the field to obtain a concise and comprehensible picture of Adult Education in Malta and elsewhere today, supplemented by clear indications of where action needs to be taken.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacEduAOCAE
Scholarly Works - FacEduES

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