The International Institute

for Policy, Practice and

Research in the Education

of Adults
















679 W. Hancock

Detroit, Michigan 48201







April, 1995


Purpose:  Four Focal Points



The International Institute for Policy, Practice and Research in the Education of Adults has been established to develop and implement the field of policy and politics of the education of adults by means of an institutional strategy which is also respondive to the needs of modern society.

This purpose is to be accomplished by linking local adult higher education units and their social partners by means of a network of adult education policy makers, practitioners and researchers.

The Institute is designed to focus on four areas which are essential if this task is to be realized within the time available:

1.   The development of international, cross cultural criteria and procedure, for the analysis and evaluation of policies, practices, and resulting pro-grams for the education of adults;

2.   The education and training in theory, method and practice of an interna-tional cadre of young, adult education professionals in an international, multicultural context; the design of a curriculum, including field exper-ience, characterized by an international content; the conscious objective of creating a multicultural and experienced cadre for the field are part of the task;

3.   Participation in and support of: national and international networks deal-ing with issues critical to the education of adults; in select, indigenous adult education projects; mutual assistance networks around specific projects; and the strengthening of professional adult education linkages;

4.   The linkage of the above three functions to an environment for the deve-lopment of theory relevant to the field of adult education, including the collection of basic data, clarification of basic concepts, and the develop-ment of appropriate methodologies.

(adopted unanimously by the Institute organizing committee meeting at the University of Leuven and Louvain-Belgium, June 4, 1993).


A Three Year Strategy



The Institute will, by the 1997 UNESCO World Conference on Adult Edu-cation, be fully operational in these four areas and will have prepared a working paper on Adult Education in a Multicultural World for this import-ant event. Once this objective has been accomplished we will review and evaluate our achievements in the four areas and lay out our plans for the future.



Indigenous Networks


The Institute is currently working with a number of indigenous networks dealing with the following issues:

        Ethnicity: Conflict and Cooperation and Ethno-Development;

        Democratization: the Voluntary Sector and Civic Literacy;

        The Future of Work and Labour;

        The Internationalization of the Welfare State;

        Intercultural Education: Issue and Policies;

        Policy and the Education of Adults.

The status of the linkage with the networks was reviewed at the January 13-20, 1995 meetings in Detroit and a method for closer collaboration with the networks developed. This method involves a conscious "seeding" process of participation by the various networks in each others conferences and pro-jects, as well as the development of some common infrastructures such as e-mail networks, publications, teleconference and collaboration on common issues.

Participation in networks dealing with Environment and Ecology, Urban Agendas, Literacy and a number of other key adult education issues will be developed over the next three years. By January 1996, the Institute will issue a catalogue of its projects in collaboration with indigenous networks.



Policy Analysis and Evaluation


The Institute is involved in a massive project studying the development of policy for the education of adults based on the European Delphi Project: Lifelong Learning in Europe - Towards Establishing the Needs and Policies for the Education of Adults. The project now includes the 12 initial EEC countries, Estonia, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic, Vancouver, Ontario and Michigan and over 2,000 adult education policy specialists.  National Symposia are being completed in preparation for the September 1995 Barcelona Conference. At that time we hope to have located the resources to make the project international and completed by the UNESCO World Conference.

The goals of the project are a comparative Delphi-type study about: a) per-ceived adult learning needs - problems and challenges; b) the contribution of adult continuing education to help solve key problems confronting indivi-duals and societies; c) the existing policies and policy making/implementing structures; d) the shaping of national and international policies; e) the contri-bution to the development of comparative adult and continuing education policy studies.

By January 1996 the Institute will have a roster of policy and program eval-uators available to participating institutions in relation to their programs, the programs of the community partners and regional, national and international policy making structures.



Curriculum and Cadre Building


The June 1993 Institute meeting identified the organization of annual Spring/ Summer Faculty/Graduate Seminars as the first step in collaboration regard-ing curriculum and the training of cadres.

The first seminar Globalization of Adult Education: Practice, Policy and Research held in the summer of 1994 involved seminar sessions at the University of Michigan, Windsor, Toronto and Wayne State University and field visits to a wide range of community-based adult education partners of these institutions. The seminar involved intensive pre and post field visit ses-sions, readings, lectures and discussions.

The second seminar Policy in Global Adult Education: Outcomes from the Delphi Study, being planned for Leuven, Belgium before the September 1995 con-ference, includes graduate students from participating countries.

The third seminar for the summer of 1996 deals with Global Adult Educa­tion: North/South Realities and Options, and the fourth seminar will be link­ed with the 1997 UNESCO World Congress: UNESCO and Internation­al Adult Education: Local and Global Policy, Practice and Research.

We have also set up a committee to develop travelling seminars on Demo­cra­tization and the Voluntary Sector: Civic Literacy in Multicultural Societies involving multi-site colloquia where the travelling faculty/students meet local faculty/students and visit adult education projects. If funding can be located for 1995, the first travelling seminar will involve US/Canadian students visit-ing Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, with brief-ing and de-briefing  stops in Leiden (Netherlands).

In Spring 1996 the International Institute will publish a compendium of adult higher education curricular and degree offerings from all the participating units/institutions.  This will list the curricula, degree requirements, costs, faculty, number of students, social partners and collaborative projects, research, telecommunications, etc.  We are also using this date as a deadline for the negotiation of inter-university graduate degree programs using the common summer seminars.

The globalization of adult education and the need for inter-culturally trained adult higher education cadres is one of the main reasons for this function of the Institute.  It will require the use of comparative studies and cross-cultural education, leading to a global perspective as it develops.  Our goal is to have 50 graduate students involved in this approach by the time of the UNESCO 1997 meetings.



Theory and Research


The findings of our preliminary survey of research and theory development being undertaken at the participating institutions were presented at the Vancouver International Seminar (18-22 August 1993) and a seminar was held discussing the following seven (7) questions related to the Institute's basic purpose:

1)   Why should there be a field of politics, policy and practice of the edu­ca­tion of adults?

2)   What are the problematics addressed by this field?

3)   What clarifications, specifications, definitions are necessary before con­structing such a field?

4)   What are the behaviours and practices of individuals, institutions, com­munities, societies and cultures involved?

5)   How do we study the politics, policy and practice in the field?

6)   How do we develop theory from the study of practice, politics and policy?

7)   How do we organize a structure for such research and can we create a theory group linked to the Institute?

                  (See Question de Formation, Vol. II, No. 4&5, 1990-91)

It was recommended that we launch a Journal with an editorial board (the board to be the initial theory group) and provide the place for continued theory discussion and theory development. A date for the first issue of Janu­ary 1996 has been fixed. A study to review the current state of theory and those developing it will be inaugurated by the Journal and published in time for the UNESCO 1997 meetings. It has been suggested that we use the Delphi method developed by Professor Walter Leirman for this study, lead­ing to the development of a theory building strategy.

Two additional projects in relation to theory building were approved at the meetings in Belgium and are to be completed by February 1997 or earlier:


  a study on the accelerated production and application of knowledge, its impacts and the role of the education of adults (individual and col­lec­tive) for its constructive integration;

  an international celebration of 2,500 years of Book VII of Plato's Politea (The Republic), a work dedicated to continuing lifelong educa­tion for the wise and just governance of society, including production of a video and study guide.

The theory group would start its annual meetings by 1996 and be responsible for one issue of the journal per year.

At the Detroit meetings January 13-20, 1995, the above strategy was review­ed and reaffirmed. The consensus of the group was that the activation of these projects was well underway and that the 1997 date was realistic.



Institute Structure:

Local Units and International Networks


The structure of the Institute emerges from the collaborative projects around the four institute functions (see above) and the Institute's linkage to the local units (see below).  The local units and their social partners would be linked by means of international resource networks as the institutionalization of the collaborative projects.

A local unit can be an actual unit within a given higher education institution and its social/community partners or it can be a collaborative effort among a number of local institutions which are able to carry out the essential func­tions of a local unit.

The structural objective of the Institute is to have 100 local units with an aver­age of four social partners, or a total of 500 organizations, operational by sum­mer 1997. These local units would be linked to each other and the Insti­tute by means of international networks assisting with the four core func­tions, its six core activities, its collaborative activities with its social/ community partners and by its relation to the international and national adult education associations.

The four core functions are the activities which make up the institute: indigenous networks, policy analysis and evaluation, curriculum and cadre development, and theory and research.

The common local units core activities are: program development, distance edu­ca­tion, open faculty, administration and communications, evaluation and institutional research, and network building.

The collaborative activities with community/social partners are developed by the local units with their own local partners. The eight listed in the gra­phic are examples.These activities are to be assisted by the international expert  networks.

The local units and their community/social partners form the base of the Institute. The International Networks are designed to assist them. It is a sys-tem designed for both North/South and East/West collaboration. The system is non-hierarchical, making the institute a network of networks and local units based on a series of collaborative projects with their community and social partners. Such a system is designed to encourage collaborative analyses, development of cooperative strategies and the effective develop­ment of theory and practice.

Organizing Networks:


Jose BELTRAN                             Universitat de Barcelona

                                                              Centre of Research for Education

Pieter BATELAAN                       International Association for Intercultural Education

                                                              Hilversum, Netherlands

Eric BOCKSTAEL                         Wayne State University

                                                              College of Lifelong Learning

Larry BERLIN                               University of Michigan

                                                              College of Education

Jean BLAIRON                              Question de  Formation


Marvin BOBES                              To Educate the People Consortium


Fr. Liam CAREY                           St. Patrick's College, Maynooth

                                                              Centre for Aldut and Community Education

William CAVE                               University of Michigan

                                                              Higher and Adult Education

Vladimir CHOLVAD                      Slovak Ministry of Education

                                                              Higher and Adult Education

J. Linn COMPTON                        University of Wisconsin (Madison)

                                                              Continuing and Vocational Education

George CUSHINGBERRY Jr.          South East Michigan Council of Governments

                                                              Adult Education Task Force

John DARBY                                 University of Ulster (Colerain)

                                                              INCORE Project

Burton DUNBAR                           University of Missouri-Kansas City

                                                              Art History

Ramon FLECHA-GARCIA             Universitat de Barcelona

                                                              Divisio de Ciencies de l'Educacio

Otto FEINSTEIN                           Wayne State University

                                                              To Educate the People Consortium

Eric FENSTER                               To Educate the People Consortium

                                                              International Adult Education

Keith FORRESTER                        University of Leeds

                                                              Department of Adult Continuing Education

Etore GELPI                                  Universite de Paris VIII

                                                              Adult Education

Elisabeth GERVER                         University of Dundee

                                                              Centre for Continuing Education

Jagdish GUNDARA                        University of London

                                                              Centre for Multicultural Education

Pavel HARTL                                Charles University (Prague)

                                                              Adult Education and Social Work

Roger HIEMSTRA                         Syracuse University

                                                              Adult Education

Pere HIMMELSTRUP                   Danish Cultural Institute


Theo JANSEN                               Catholic University of Nijmegen

                                                              Institute for Social Pedagogy

Peter JARVIS                                 University of Surrey at Guildford

                                                              Department of Educational Studies

Zoran JELENC                              Slovene Adult Education Centre


Jozsef KATUS                               Leiden University

                                                              Adult Education and Information

Klaus KUNZEL                              University of Koeln

                                                              Department of Pedagogy

Larry LANDRY                             Rainbow Coalition

                                                              Washington, DC

Organizing Networks:


Per LAURSEN                               University of Copenhagen

                                                              Adult Education

Walter LEIRMAN                         University of Leuven

                                                              Adult Education

Pierre LEBOUTTE                        CARAT


Talvi MARJA                                Tallin Pedagogic University

                                                              Adult Education

Pierre MARCHAL                         Catholic University of Louvain


Rodolfo MARTINEZ                     Wayne State University

                                                              Bi-Lingual and Multicultural Education

Francois MARTOU                        Catholic Workers Movement


Keith McLEOD                             University of Toronto


Silva MEZNARIC                          University of Zagreb


Cesare PITTO                               University of Calabria


Eranz POEGELER                         Aachen Technical University

                                                              Adult Education

Kyell RUBENSON                         University of Linkoeping (Sweden)

                                                              Adult Education

Hans SCHUTZE                             University of British Columbia

                                                              Adult Education

Vida SPOLAR                                Slovene Centre for Adult Education


Rodolfo STAVENHAGEN              Colegio de Mexico


Milton STERN                               University of California - Berkeley

                                                              Adult and Continuing Education

Germaine STROBEL                      Michigan Ethnic Heritage Studies Centre


Walter TEMELINI                        University of Windsor

                                                              Modern Literature and Languages

Valery TISHKOV                           Russion Academy of Sciences

                                                              Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology

Janos TOTH                                  Hungarian Folk High School Association


Walter UEGAMA                          University of British Columbia

                                                              Adult and Continuing Education

Mara USTINOVA                          Institute for Pedagogy


Dimitri VERGIDIS                         University of Patras

                                                              Adult Education

Tashome WAGAW                        University of Michigan

                                                              Higher and Adult Education

Nicholas WALTERS                      University of Surrey

                                                              Continuing and Adult Education

Kevin WARD                                University of Leeds

                                                              Adult Continuing Education

Mitja ZAGAR                                University of Ljubljana