Lifelong learning policy in England and Japan : a comparative analysis
In both England and Japan, 'lifelong learning' has been positioned as central to educational reform. However, their lifelong learning policies are different: skills development which leading to economic growth is emphasised in England, whereas community building aiming at social reconstruction is prioritised in Japan. This study asks why the policies are different and how these differences have developed. English and Japanese lifelong learning policies have developed within both domestic and global contexts. Domestically, contrasting historical problems and moments of major change and political and social processes have resulted in different lifelong learning policies in the two countries. Globally, in the 1990s, the idea of lifelong learning has become a discursive norm, and numerous benefits for lifelong learning are claimed. Similar debates can be identified in both England and Japan, but it is the legitimacy and adaptability of lifelong learning which permit different interpretations of the idea. This study is structured as follows. Chapter One frames the study, outlining the scope, the research questions, the main argument and the structure of the thesis. Chapter Two provides an historical account of the international development of lifelong learning policy and identifies the current major characteristics of the international discourse on lifelong learning. Chapters Three and Four analyse respectively the formulation of the English and the Japanese lifelong learning policies. As the policies moved into practice, they were reshaped: these processes are analysed in Chapters Five and Six. Chapter Seven revisits the international discourse on lifelong learning and examines its relationship with local lifelong learning policies. Chapter Eight reflects on the study.