Posts Tagged ‘ricardo sabates’

Economy, Community & Public Value

Last week I discussed the beginnings of the idea of a Formative Public Value and critically reviewed the issues concerning the social productivity of education as discussed by Feinstein and Sabates.  I couldn’t see substantive arguments for learning as empowerment either at an individual or community level nor any sense of engagement and the notion of community in their work. This week I will address a broader set of issues concerning Public Value moving away from the simple focus on skills for the economy.

Ursula Howard – Adult literacy learning, participative democracy and the public collective good – new life for old causes?

This is the first paper in NJE to mention and use the term “communities” and to explicitly discuss literacy and learning as social practices and move attention away from the focus on skills for the economy and underachievement towards the development of a “democratic, community-based learning culture and turning the current logic on its head.” (p66) (more…)


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Since my last post, I have been looking at two publications, one from 2008 and one published in April 2010. The first is a book published by NIACE in late 2008 “Not just the economy: the public value of adult learning”. This book is focused entirely on public value, but is not referenced at all in the IFLL papers despite one paper being written by Tom Schuller who led the IFLL and another by Ricardo Sabates whose work appears in both this collection and as the author of one of the key papers in the IFLL public value series. I will provide a short summary of each paper in this collection and examine the issues covered here that are not picked up in the IFLL documents.

The second book is the latest critique of the term “social capital” by Ben Fine (Theories of Social Capital: Researchers Behaving Badly) which uses and builds on his extensive work critiquing the formulation and use of this concept. Social capital is used in the paper by Feinstein and Sabates (in the NIACE book) and I think this illustrates one of the key problems with Sabates’ paper for the IFLL as well as the way in which public value is similarly used in the inquiry as a whole. I have already pointed to my concern with the monetisation methods used to calculate public value in the Matrix Knowledge Group papers and I think this book is an important critique of the conceptualisation and methodology adopted to explore public value and will discuss below, after outlining the contents of NJE in two posts. I’m doing this because there is a significant narrowing of conception and focus in the IFLL that seems to amputate the critical elements of NJE and it is worth exploring what the earlier work had to offer.

The Promise

“They make a convincing argument for a well-educated citizenry empowered through learning to challenge bigotry, sophistry and injustice.” Quote on the back cover. (more…)

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This paper, written by Ricardo Sabates, sets out to summarise the evidence of the impact of lifelong learning on poverty reduction.  The author takes great care to stress that the paper is “a contribution to an empirically based understanding of the complex mechanisms through which education impacts on poverty reduction.” p4

The paper provides a definition of poverty and sets out the learning opportunities for poor people before reviewing literature on the effects of adult education, financial and health literacy and the impact of lifelong learning on the reduction of child poverty.  As I have noted before, this paper, in common with the other three publications in this series on Public Value, does not develop or challenge the definition of public value given in Foreword  p2 (See previous posts) and like the other papers does not use the term in the main body of the text.

More clearly than the other papers, this paper sets out a series of six clear propositions, which are worth reproducing in full.

  1. The impact of learning on employment possibilities is a key area for poverty reduction. For individuals in employment improved income has been the result of continuing learning and training opportunities.
  2. Adult education with provision of financial literacy and support to access public funds can help fill the gap in financial services for low-income disadvantaged families.
  3. There are important health benefits of adult learning. Particularly important for the poor are the benefits of health literacy and numeracy.
  4. Improving the education of adults is not just about them, but also about their children. Upgrading adult skills can bring large returns for their children.
  5. There is a lack of studies investigating the net impact of lifelong learning on poverty reduction in the UK and on the possible multiplier effect of education policies with other initiatives. There is a particularly strong need for continuing longitudinal studies.
  6. Lifelong learning should be part of any approach to reducing poverty, but it will only be fully effective in interaction with other policies. p4 (more…)

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