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Andrea Óhidy: The Lifelong Learning Paradigm in Educational Scholarly Discourse in Germany and Hungary

Over the past few decades, Lifelong Learning has developed into the most important pedagogic paradigm in Europe. At the same time, it has also become a generic term for the reform ideas of the European Union. Ever since the European Year of Lifelong Learning in 1996, this paradigm has been regarded as the most effective way to deal with the rapid social, political and economic changes of the modern world. With the introduction of the Lisbon Process in 2000 to create „the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world,” Lifelong Learning has become even more significant. Although this aim has not been achieved, the EU has been endeavouring to generate „smart, sustainable, inclusive growth” since 2010 with its new agenda Europe 2020, thus strengthening the coordination of national and European policies. The idea of Lifelong Learning still plays a great role. This study analyses the reception of the European reform debate about Lifelong Learning in the educational scholarly discourse of two EU member states: Germany, representing the „old Europe”, and Hungary, the „new Europe”. The focus is on the 1996–2005 period – between the European Year of Lifelong Learning and the halfway point of the Lisbon Process – when EU states attempted to implement the idea of Lifelong Learning in their national educational systems. There are two main discourse lines about Lifelong Learning: (educational) policy and scholarly. The educational scholarly discourse not only reflects the European and national discourse about Lifelong Learning, but also endeavours to find compatibilities between European and German/Hungarian traditions, policy aims and research topics. The study analyses 49 articles about Lifelong Learning in ten volumes of seven educational scholarly journals in Germany and Hungary, which represent three scholarly areas in the field of education: general education, school pedagogy and adult education. Using a three-step „perception – interpretation – adaptation” analysis, it shows the similarities and differences in the German and Hungarian adaptations and the most important influencing factors. As a result, the similarities in the educational debate within these two countries can be traced back to the standardizing effects of EU (educational) policy activities. The differences stem from the different geographical and political situations, durations of EU membership, political and economic traditions after 1945 and structures of the two education systems.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 114. Number 1. 2-23. (2014)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Óhidy Andrea, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg, Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft Zschokkestrasse 40C, D–39104 Magdeburg.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia