When: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 | 7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
Where: Ponderosa Commons, Room 2012, 6445 University Boulevard
With Dr. Shirley Walters
Questions about the roles and effectiveness of adult learning and education (ALE) are being raised sharply, particularly in the light of the political developments in both the United Kingdom (UK) with the BREXIT vote to exit the European Union and the USA’s presidential election. The Oxford Dictionary, in November 2016, chose “post-truth” as its word of the year, defining the adjective as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. There are many contemporary examples in addition to BREXIT and the USA election, for example, AIDS or climate change denialists. Some scholars warn that the internet is helping propagate ignorance as it’s a place where everyone has a chance to be their own expert where we are prey for powerful interests wishing to deliberately spread ignorance.
The rise of populist authoritarianism is also seen as a direct threat to adult learning. This is also a time when the Global Report on Adult Learning (UIL 2016) reports on powerful data and practical examples showing that adult learning and education help individuals become and stay healthier, improve their economic prospects, and be more informed and active citizens, no matter where in the world they live. As ALE scholar-activists and practitioners, what do we believe and how should we respond? This presentation encourages critical conversation about these issues.
Shirley Walters is a professor emerita of adult and continuing education at University of Western Cape, South Africa, where she directed the Centre for Adult and Continuing Education and the Division for Lifelong Learning over 30 years. She is a feminist and social justice activist working locally and globally. She currently serves as deputy president (Africa) on the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE). Her latest co-edited book (with Astrid von Kotze) is Forging Solidarity: Popular Education at Work 2017 Sense Publishers, Rotterdam.