The concept of education in higher education in England, 1960-1997, with special reference to adult continuing education
This thesis reports a study of the concept of education in higher education and in adult continuing education within higher education in England in the period from 1960 to 1947. The period chosen has seen great changes in higher education: one aim of the study is to explore the associated changes, if any, in the understanding of the education provided in the changed system. The study begins with a consideration of the philosophy of education, the need to take account of the historical and social settings of concepts, the distinction between concepts and conceptions, and the issues of essentially contested concepts. A brief and selective review provides an historical background for the study. Three mam conceptions of education in mainstream higher education are identified. discussed and traced in the report of the Robbins Committee (1963) and other studies. Four main conceptions of education in adult continuing education are similarly identified. discussed and traced in the provision made by adult education departments. Consideration is given to conceptions of education developed within the radical tradition in education. A number of emerging ideas associated with developments of the 1990s, including the idea of lifelong learning, are identified and discussed with particular reference to the report of the Dearing Committee (1997). It is shown that higher education and adult continuing education alike have been dominated by one particular conception of education. The reasons for this dominance and its implications for the future of higher education are discussed in relation to the development of a mass system of higher education and the emergence outside higher education of a significantly different conception of education, here characterised as the 'commodity' view of education.