The Contribution of Non-formal Adult Education to Social Sustainability: Policy Implications from Case Studies in the Asia-Pacific Region
In this chapter I examine, from a policy perspective, the contribution of non-formal adult education (NFAE) to social sustainability through its contribution to vocational learning. I draw on five country case studies of NFAE in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Fiji, India, the Philippines, and Thailand. Vocational learning can enhance social sustainability because it facilitates the development of individual capacity for meaningful, productive, and competitive engagement in income generation. The case studies highlight a number of common qualities in the contribution of NFAE to vocational learning. NFAE was found in each of the countries to be an important provider of vocational education and a contributor more broadly to vocational learning outcomes. That contribution was facilitated by the low capital overheads and the high situational responsiveness and cost effectiveness of provision in the NFAE sector. The sector's involvement in vocational education also raised a number of tensions, which need to be considered in policy initiatives and reviews. The democratic, participative, community-based, and humanistic nature of NFAE provision, and its commitment to social justice, also benefit its promotion of informed, active, and responsible citizenship, which itself encourages productive self-employment or cooperative enterprise. These findings suggest the value of the sector in carrying forward the social sustainability learning agenda.
Rethinking work and learning: Adult and vocational education for social sustainability
Continuing and Community Education