The latest issue of the journal Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning has been published online. This issue contains article across a broad range of issues – from Dad’s as primary school teachers to transport, from African lifelong learning policy to learner identifies. It also has something of an international dimension, relating to UK, Australian and Ethiopian higher education and lifelong learning.

Editor David Jary introduces the articles:

Widening access to lifelong learning for adults in Ethiopia: opportunities with recognition of prior learning by Tebeje Molla

(This article) examines the role of lifelong learning as an organising principle in developing countries. Ethiopia has recently introduced a new phase in its development programme for education, which emphasises adult education. The author, Tebeje Molla, discusses the importance of a flexible qualifications framework that recognises prior learning, and highlights the absence of this in Ethiopia and the lack of a linkage between formal and nonformal educational settings.

Senses of belonging and fitting in? Affinities and emergent identities by Iain Jones

Iain Jones reports on a topic that has attracted considerable attention recently: the decision-making processes of new students in taking up places in higher education and their initial experiences of higher education. The emphasis of Jones’s study is on the multiplicity and complexity of the ‘situated experiences’. An important aspect of the contribution of the research is methodological: its reliance on focus groups rather than on individual interviews or questionnaires. Jones also sees his approach as offering an alternative to what Burke (2009) has called ‘derogatory discourse’.

Widening participation: a role for transport? UK higher education policy and mobilityrelated educational exclusion by Susan Kenyon

Susan Kenyon highlights the role of transport in contributing to exclusion from higher education. The previous UK Labour government published A New ‘University Challenge’, a document that proposed the development of locally provided higher education as a strategy to open up access. The article examines the extent to which institutions have in fact considered transport in their widening participation strategies, concluding that it has been largely overlooked.

Dads in classrooms: fathers studying to be primary school teachers in New Zealand by Stephanie White

(This article) deals with the factors inhibiting men from entering primary school teaching, an important issue given concerns about the implications of a lack of male role models in primary schools. Her small-scale qualitative study asked fathers enrolled in pre-service teacher education to share their views on why they chose to become teachers and the factors inhibiting or assisting their training. The insights are likely to be of value to teacher education providers. Problems are seen as arising from a feminisation of teaching. What is seen as needed are ways to accommodate more male ways of learning and a greater acknowledgement of the life skills and experiences that fathers can bring to the learning experience. An important motivation they indicate for becoming teachers is a strong desire to engage in work considered more meaningful than their previous employment. A question posed by the author is: Are fathers perhaps the answer to the need for more caring, empathetic and positive male role models in schools?

The issue also contains book reviews of Tom Schuller and David Watson’s Learning through Life: Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning; and Taking Part? Active Learning for Active Citizenship, and Beyond, edited by Marjorie Mayo and John Annette.

The journal can be accessed online by subscribers via the journal’s webpages here. Details of how to subscribe to the journal are also contained in these webpages.

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