The ability to enhance higher literacy levels to adults and workers in the society forms a major step towards improved development and greater production at different levels of the society. Authors appear in agreement that workers and adult education must be embedded in society’s institutional frameworks that reduce their dependence but leverages economic development. It is the view of this paper that social democracy perspective is a better model because it strongly relies on institutionalization of workers adult education; a factor that largely provides them with a raised ground for competing with others. A strong evaluation of social democracy and neo-liberalism perspectives as well as how the two have shaped adult and workers education is further provided.
Finally, a personal preference on the perspectives is outlined.Social democracy perspectiveAccording to Ingvar and Anne-Marie (2007), social democracy is an evolutionary perspective that has taken long to define and re-fit in different contexts. From a classic political spectrum, it can be considered a centre-left concept assuming a reformist socialism model. Consequently, it takes a gradual outlook in establishing a socialist mode of economy. At this point, social democracy should be seen to consist of two main building factors; democracy and socialism.First, it entails embracing values in the society, upholding freedom, and most importantly equity. People are directly involved in making decisions either directly or indirectly through their elected leaders. Unlike in neo-liberalism, Sullivan (2003) argues that democracy is a strong down-top management in a broad pyramidal model with no discrimination at any level.
Socialism, on the other hand involves common ownership and planning based on institutions. Therefore, work by the people and society as a whole is considered central towards advancing independence and economic development. Social democracy in adult and workers’ education as Sullivan (2003) outlines reflect values that seek to create a highly enlightened community as a whole.Ingvar and Anne-Marie (2007) explain that social democracy reference to institutions greatly centralizes and harmonizes control and accessibility of services to the community. In New Zealand, the government took a bold shift from the competitive model in adult education to a social democratic one which created faster and better access especially to the working community (McLaughlin, 2003). One cannot fail to mention the essential role that social democracy has brought in essential services such as health and development in different regions. United States highly ranked democratic ideals and access to services by all is linked to effective representation and prioritization brought about by social democracy.Neo-liberalism perspectiveNeo-liberalism is an ideology with a wide and a highly changing orientation in different levels.
Green (2003) argues that this ideology is a construct from classical economic theories which seek to empower private and individuals in leveraging economic development. Proponents of this view believe that through privatization the society is able to invoke higher levels and quality of services delivery to the society through market competition. Unlike it is currently known that key services such as education and healthcare are a prerogative of central government, neo-liberalism shifts their constitution and provision to private ownership.Moss (2008) notes in his publication that neo-liberalism is strongly entrenched on consideration of demand and supply of various services being provided. Though it was held as a strong factor within which both individual people and private entities would gather efforts to build competitive advantages in bid to win the market, Green (2003) argues that essential services with low demand may acutely lack in the community. Upon this realization, Moss (2008) adds that governments have evaded operating on a pure neo-liberal point of view to a mixed model which seeks to emphasize on individual competiveness and institutional progress. A Marxist operation is further employed to optimize outputs on effectual demand.
This perspective further calls for optimization of technology and incentives as essential optimization forces.How these ideological perspectives have shaped adult and workers’ education and trainingOver the years, adult and worker’s education in different nations have taken varied perspectives with differing success rates. However, though selection of these perspectives and application in other areas such as industrial production appear easy, scholars remain highly divided over which one is better in adult and workers’ education. From a social democracy point of view, Sutch (1966) notes that adult and workers education is run non-competitively. Sutch (1966) further points out that a competitive model is highly restrictive and operates in a colonial model. Consequently, only a few people who have the resources would be able to access education in a competitive consideration.
New Zealand strongly shifted to social democracy which gave the government full control of adult and workers education that strongly promoted access and encouraged more elderly people to further education.Williams (1980) strongly argued that adult and workers’ population constituted an important number in England which could be used to leverage development in the country at the height of the Cold War. Notably, with many people limited by resources availability as they worked in the low paying changing industries, advancing the dream of uniting Europe was at stake. In this case, the government introduced short two year courses that could allow adults and workers access to university degrees.
Besides, open learning and recreational courses facilitated by the government made it possible to learn even after work and at night with or without qualifications (Alcock, Erskine and May, 2003). However, it is critical that social democracy is indirectly linked and partially shaped by the market forces to invoke the sense of high quality.In his publication, Green (2003) cites Neo-liberalism, as the main concept with ability to invoke high creativity and innovations in the 21st century. Upton (1986) further suggests that any education model that lacks direct market touch as a roadmap to failure. Neo-liberalism therefore creates a direct link between the market requirements and what the education offers. It is from this perspective’s application that Canaan and Shumar (2008) reports of the ability to tap young minds and entrenching them in the economic development demand that saw Japan strongly develop its industrial capacity. However, the workers and adults were greatly disadvantaged taking into consideration that they formed a significant proportion of the population. It is from this realization that largely saw New Zealand shift from a Neo-Liberalism approach to a social democratic orientation outlook (Holford, Jarvis and Griffin, 1998).
As indicated earlier, many states are currently undergoing key restructuring as they seek to assume either a neo-liberal or social democratic perspective. However, as New Zealand experienced between 1980 and 1990 when it was shifting from a neo-liberal orientation to a social democratic perspective, McLaughlin (2003) emphasizes on the need for intrinsic understanding of either perspective for smooth running transition.Personal preferences on how adult and workers’ education should be shapedAdult population in the society must be seen as a viable force with great potential to leverage economic development in a country or economic region.
As a result, any perspective driving their education system must be value driven with focus on empowerment. In her view, McLaughlin (2003) explains that though it is true that adult education lack long term advantages compared to the younger developing population, it remains a very critical factor in economic progression; reducing dependence and supporting higher quality development. It is from this consideration that social democracy in this paper is viewed to be superior in seeking to empower more workers and adult population in the community. It came out from the discussion placing workers and adults on the same learning platform with younger population set then at a losing end as they lack the ability to effectively compete. A social democracy perspective therefore gives them an important and elevated ground to sharpen their skills and leverage production in their areas of work.
As McLaughlin (2003) conclusion and Alcock (003) argument indicate the Marxist perspective of neo-liberalism is indeed a scaring factor to the older generation. However, social democracy is both a strengthening factor and encouragement to the workers both socially and in their areas of work. By creating a platform for improvement leveraged by the government, the quality of work from them is anchored while the economy is expanded.ConclusionIt is from the above discussion that this paper concludes by supporting the thesis statement, ‘the ability to enhance higher literacy levels to adults and workers in the society forms a major step towards improved development and greater production at different levels of the society.’ The difference of the two perspectives came out to be strongly rooted in their mode of application.
While social democracy is strongly people driven through democratic representation in institutional frameworks, neo-liberalism was found to be highly capitalistic. Social democracy was further found to have a broader capacity to support adult and workers education because they are encouraged and supported to support their immediate experiences. However, neo-liberalism perspective’s strong market orientation was found to not only scare adults and workers in pursuing education, but failed to invoke the needed incentives.
It is therefore imperative that states and governments assume a social democracy orientation in leveraging their adult and worker’s education.