Challenges of the capability paradigm in a local adult education system: a case study of the Provincia Autonoma Trento

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In Italy because of the scarcity of regulation and a particularistic organisational culture - the supply of Lifelong Learning (LLL) is shaped as a system of local services addressed to an unspecified educational demand that is acknowledged by public institutions only in quantitative terms. Challenged by the European Strategy for Occupation, such a system shows its weaknesses: quantitatively, it fails in matching local demand and supply and often suffers from financial deficits, and qualitatively, it fails in interpreting the new demand and in responding with innovative approaches. Thus, the Italian system of Lifelong Learning also lacks legitimation in the public opinion. The present paper presents the case of the PAT (Provincia Autonoma of Trento) whose particular system of Lifelong Learning is based on a long tradition of supply and a high degree of internal differentiation; moreover it is highly fragmented and very bureaucratized. The paper draws upon an empirical study , conducted in 2008, which highlights the main challenges that a modern LLL system would have to face if it aims to develop from an assistance-ritualized approach to an active and personal capability-oriented one. The paper is structured in four parts: first, the Italian cultural scenario is presented, in negative terms; the Italian LLL system is located to at the lowest level of the educational scale, that is, adult education has much less prestige than formal education. A consideration of all the possible factors that may be implicated in such a negative representation (cultural, historical, and socio-normative) are outlined. The second section discusses (in the study case) the rising profile of local initiatives from the point of view of the sociology of education. The focus of this section are teachers and learners in adult education, and aims to respond to the following questions: are trainers more likely to adapt themselves to the system s bureaucratic profile or to enact creative teaching/learning? Are they sensible to developing capability for education ? Finally, the last section includes some recommendations developed from the discussion of the PAT case, focusing on how to reform the current local systems of Lifelong Learning in the light of the capability approach.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)79-97
Numero di pagine19
RivistaItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2010



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