National Patterns and Challenges
Edited by Ellu Saar, Odd Bjørn Ure and John Holford
Chapter 4: Has lifelong learning policy and practice in Scotland promoted social inclusion?
In this chapter we explore the extent to which lifelong learning (LLL) policy and practice promote social inclusion, and which are the main target groups of policy strategies. We draw on data from a 6th framework project entitled ‘Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: the Contribution of the Education System’ (LLL 2010), focusing on interview data from both managers of LLL provision and two government-related officials. Education has traditionally been seen as a means to social mobility in Scotland and as essential to a strong democracy and a meritocratic social system (Devine 1999). The extent to which education fulfils these expectations has been questioned by Scott and Mooney (2005), who feel that the presentation of Scotland as an egalitarian society is misplaced. Nonetheless, the egalitarian nature of the Scottish society is apparent in policy documents. Initially, the government’s focus was on the compulsory education system, but during the second half of the twentieth century tertiary education increased in importance. However, in spite of the importance attached to education as a means to social mobility, persistent inequalities related to socio-economic background still exist in all sectors of education. The role of post-compulsory education in addressing such inequalities was noted in the late 1990s in the Green Paper Opportunity Scotland (Scottish Office 1998).
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