A comparison of developments in university continuing education in Finland, the UK and Sweden

Osborne, M. , Sandberg, H. and Tuomi, O. (2004) A comparison of developments in university continuing education in Finland, the UK and Sweden. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 23(2), pp. 137-158. (doi: 10.1080/0260137042000184183)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0260137042000184183


This paper develops work carried out under the aegis of a European Commission‐funded university continuing education (UCE) network. It compares the ways in which UCE has developed in three countries within Northern Europe. The authors firstly review the developments of university education in general in Finland, the UK and Sweden, paying particular attention to the factors that historically have influenced UCE. They then focus on developments and policy imperatives of the last decade. A number of convergences and divergences in policy and practice in the three countries are pointed to. In both Finland and the UK, UCE is well defined by state or quasi‐state agencies and is an activity that has been located within well‐defined structural units in most institutions. Universities in these two countries have a diverse mission based on a national lifelong learning agenda. By contrast, in Sweden, whilst there is a longstanding international tradition of adult education rooted within democratic movements and a recognition of the importance of equality of access, the provision is to a large extent embedded in universities and not manifest as UCE. What provision that does exist as UCE is patchily distributed across the university sector and nonuniform in character. UCE provision within Finland and UK to varying degrees in becoming more diverse in its make‐up. The presence of new providers in a ‘CE market’, an emphasis on UCE as an economic instrument, moves towards the accreditation of provision and the loss of a particular identity for UCE are amongst factors creating increasing heterogeneity of provision in these countries.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Osborne, Professor Michael
Authors: Osborne, M., Sandberg, H., and Tuomi, O.
Subjects:L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > People, Place & Social Change
Journal Name:International Journal of Lifelong Education
ISSN (Online):1464-519X
Published Online:07 August 2006

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