Initiatives that follow a bottom-up approach to education and lifelong learning
What does it mean to develop a bottom-up approach to education and lifelong learning? It means understanding – through consultation, observation and analysis – the needs, motivations and opinions of grass-roots stakeholders such as learners, teachers and the parents of school-going children. This is not to suggest that the work of researchers and policymakers be discounted; rather, ‘parity of esteem’ is needed between those who develop education policy and those who implement it. If the two fail to synch, the policy initiative – whether individual intervention or large-scale reform – is unlikely to take root and bear fruit.
All six articles in this issue are about working with stakeholders to develop more effective, responsive and inspiring initiatives, thereby helping to build that much vaunted yet elusive entity, the learning society. The first article describes and evaluates a pilot project to introduce a peace education curriculum into Qur'anic schools in Niger. The authors of our second article suggest that, to examine the state of interfaith relations, we should look to the domain where those relations are most fundamental and intimate; interfaith marriages. The third article uses data collected from 18,856 students of the Open University of Turkey to study the factors that motivated them to choose distance learning over face-to-face tuition. Our fourth article (en français) looks at how parental choices, student trajectories and other challenges influence girls’ access to education in Burkina Faso. Our fifth article considers how informal learning can contribute to the development of learning societies with a study of the European Voluntary Service (EVS) programme. Our final article considers the long-term value of vocational versus general education using data from the OECD’s 2012 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) study.