Master concept or defensive rhetoric : evaluating Australian VET policy against past practice and current international principles of lifelong learning.
Lifelong learning has become a frequently repeated mantra of national planning and policy agencies in Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET). Critics claim the use of the term is rhetorical rather than a real commitment to the principles and practices of lifelong learning. A review of research indicates that real progress has been made in implementing some aspects of lifelong learning in VET, but that contemporary practice falls far short of internationally agreed principles of lifelong learning or even the sector’s earlier experience with the similar concept of recurrent education. Current policy settings impose too many barriers to the adoption of lifelong learning in VET and need comprehensive reform. [Author abstract]