1 Department of Education, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 Danish School of Education - General Education, Aarhus, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University3 Danish School of Education - General Education, Aarhus, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University
paradoxes in the wake of a neo-liberal education policy in adult teaching in Denmark
A neo-liberal discourse in the 2000s has been prevalent not only in international and Danish educational policy contexts, but also within a specific area, namely the education of adult immigrants in Denmark. With the adoption of a new law in 2003 high-stakes testing, standards, new market economy and demands for employment related skills and competencies in efficient Danish courses for adult foreigners have been introduced. Thus, a tremendous discursive transformation in the understanding of education in comparison with previous legislation has taken place within this specific area of adult teaching in Denmark. Based on studies of curriculum reform and research about headmasters’ and teachers’ attitudes the article addresses paradoxes rising in the wake of the neo-liberal education policy. Despite the intention of high-stakes testing to increase adult migrants’ language and employment related competences the data from the research show that neither in-depth language skills nor employment related competences seem to be attained. Was has happened to adult education during the recent years is an increased test training where in-depth work with language skills and other competences is left out. Teachers furthermore find the new working conditions stressing. It is discussed whether a neo-liberal discourse in adult teaching is ‘dumping down’ the intentions of curriculum and education reform.