In this broad sweep, Mayo explores dominant European discourses of higher education, in the contexts of different globalisations and neoliberalism, and examines its extension to a specific region. It explores alternatives in thinking and practice including those at the grassroots, also providing a situationally grounded project of university–community engagement. Signposts for further directions for higher education lifelong learning, with a social justice purpose, are provided.
Introductory in nature, the chapter outlines different forms of globalisation and their relevance to higher education. It highlights some of the relevant literature on globalisation and, while discussing the ramifications of this phenomenon for higher education, it cites some of the most relevant literature on this specific relationship: globalisation and HE. It concludes with a summary of what is expected of this book by introducing the themes of the subsequent chapters.
The chapter focuses on the development of the concept from the expansive UNESCO notion of lifelong education (LLE) to the more economic oriented one of lifelong learning (LLL) as propounded by the OECD and EU. It concludes by arguing for the broadening of the concept of LLL if it is to contribute to the realisation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the idea of education as a public good.
The chapter provides a comprehensive analysis of the EU discourse on higher education and the role of LLL within it. It highlights the underlying neoliberal tenets of the overall discourse which is occasionally laced with social democratic trappings. The themes include those of internationalisation, diversification, innovation and competitivity, entrepreneurship, marketablity.
This chapter builds on the previous one to discuss the issues involved in extending the discourse to a specific region. It also provides an account of some important contributions from this region to university community engagement and argues that the relationship should be reciprocal as both sides (Mediterranean and rest of EU) have much to offer each other.
While touching on some of the mainstream discourse in HE, the chapter devotes the bulk of attention to alternative initiatives, in the area, from the grassroots and other sectors. These initiatives prefigure the kind of HE which can emerge in future.
The chapter focuses on HE engagement with communities. It provides some historical examples of this kind of engagement from minority and majority world contexts and targeted at different types of learners. It also outlines a number of steps that can be taken to render this engagement democratic, symbiotic and a catalyst for change within the communities and HE institutions involved. Due attention is reserved for different meanings attached to the term ‘community’. The importance of embracing subaltern epistemologies is underlined. A Freirean approach is adopted throughout.
This chapter provides a concrete example of a university community engagement project deriving from an annual series of commemorative events that capture the imagination of specific communities in certain countries. The project centres on the Semana Santa (Holy Week) in a Southern European context. It juxtaposes a left-wing reading of the narrative and commemorative events involved in this example of political education against right wing renderings as manifest in Spain during the Franco era. Challenges to the latter manifestations of franquismo are also underlined.
This chapter concludes the book pulling the different strands together. It summarises the main points of the previous chapters and argues that HE is currently at a crossroads. It develops a vision for a future social justice oriented HE emphasising LLL as a public good.