Learning for a Living
The political consensus on lifelong learning which marked the end of the twentieth century fundamentally reshaped discourses on the role of lifelong learning. In a knowledge-driven economy, in which work is the new consumption, we are engaged in a lifelong competition for livelihoods, learning for a living. This lecture argues first that a learning revolution that reinforces inequalities and increases the gap between the powerful and the powerless is not a revolution, that popular beliefs in meritocracy and the openness of opportunities to all could evaporate very quickly as it becomes apparent that the qualifications chase eventually becomes a zero-sum game for all but the most advantaged. Finally, re-establishing the relationship between education and real life will mean linking 'learning for a living' to wider social purposes. Demands that people should 'take more control of their lives' have to be matched with expanded social entitlements, as a minimum condition for a learning revolution worthy of the name.
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