Session H

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Can distance education support rural development

Hróbjartur Árnason

During recent years policy makers and local municipalities have put much faith on increased education and better access to education for inhabitants of rural areas. This faith has led to new programmes, new methods and new institutions offering educational programmes for people who live at the periphery of the Nordic countries. In this presentation I will offer a reflection on this trend based on information presented at six recent symposia on the effect of distance education on rural communities held at key points on the periphery of six of the seven Nordic countries during 2011-12. The data from presentations at the symposia will be summarized, systematized and put in connection with recent research in the area, in order to reflect on whether investment in this area seems to be giving the effect hoped for and what might be done in order to increase the effect of these various projects.

Adult education and social capital in local communities

Palle Damkjær Rasmussen

In the paper I will discuss the development of general adult education in the peripheral areas of Denmark and focus especially on strategies for linking adult education to local communities.Over the last 15 years the population in the rural districts in the peripheral areas has declined, whereas it has grown significantly in the rural districts close to the large cities and in the metropolitan area. Compared to Denmark as a whole the rural districts have the relatively highest proportion of children and older people and an educational profile dominated by unskilled workers and persons with vocational training.I will argue that adult education has important potential for the peripheral areas. Whereas full-time education often attracts young people to the centre areas, part-time education for adults is an opportunity for learning that can be combined with and strengthen the competences for work and everyday life in the local community. Adult education programs may also constitute social spaces where learning is combined with experience sharing and expansion of social networks.The paper will draw on empirical studies of locally embedded adult education in West Denmark. The case is courses in basic information technology skills organized as flexible learning, especially through combining teaching with organized independent study. This allows adult learning to be situated in the local community even though it is located at considerable distance from the nearest adult education centre.The theoretical framework will draw on (but also criticise) theories of social capital as developed by Putnam, Bourdieu and others. The argument is that such types of locally situated adult education contribute to the development of relevant skills but also to shared knowledge and meaning among the adult learners.

 

Educating for decolonization: Interculturality in the Andes

Robert Aman

The thrust of this essay is to study how interculturality, as a path to decolonization, is being articulated and understood among indigenous alliances in the Andean region of Latin AmericaEmpirically, the analysis is based upon interviews with students and teachers from local academic courses on interculturality in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Although interculturality and intercultural education are common features also in Western educational rhetoric, the imposition to learn from indigenous movements have failed to attract any substantial interest in the West (cf. Deere & Leon 2003; Patrinos 2000). To illustrate this further, Robert Young (2012) argues that indigenous struggles seldom are regarded as a central issue even within postcolonial studies, a disjunction related to the use among indigenous movements of paradigms not easily translated to the Western theories and presuppositions commonly used in this scholarship (Young 2012). Given this picture, there are strong reasons for engaging seriously in a discussion about the proposition for interculturality to break out of the prisonhouse of colonial vocabulary – modernity, progress, salvation – as it lingers on in official memory; and there are also good reasons to problematize the universalizing claims that have characterized Western philosophy in the implicitly assumed epistemological hierarchiesIn this paper, I will focus specifically on visions of decolonization in terms of retrieved languages, reinscribed histories, production of knowledge; beginning the essay with an elaboration of the logic of domination as rooted in the modern/colonial world – here referred to as coloniality. Shortly thereafter, with reference points drawn from the work of Walter Mignolo and his notion of delinking, I introduce the theoretical backdrop that guides my analysis. In the major part of the paper, I develop an argument for interculturality to be understood as inter-epistemic based on knowledge produced beyond the discursive order of Western educational systemsReferencesDeere, C. & M, Leon. (2003) The Gender Asset Gap: Land in Latin America, World Development, Vol 31, Issue 6, June, pp. 925-947Mignolo, W. (2005) The idea of Latin America. Oxford: Blackwell PublishingPatrinos, H. (2000) The cost of discrimination in Latin America, Studies in Comparative International Development / Summer 2000, pp. 1-17Young, R. J. (2012) Postcolonial Remains, New Literary History 43(1), pp. 19-42

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