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The Life and Death of the Canadian Adult Education Movement

Canadian Association for University Continuing Education
Publication Date
  • Education
  • Literature
  • Education


Adult education in the Western tradition goes back at least to the craft guilds of the Middle Ages; however, the adult education movement, that is, organized attempts to promote and gain support for the practice, had its origins in Canada, at least, in the late 1920s and petered out in the 1990s. Part I of this article traces the development of that movement and includes brief references to the pre-movement years and comments on the periods identified as the Idealistic Period (the late 1920s to 1950) and the Professionalized Period (the early 1950s to the end of the 1980s). Part Two explores the causes of the movement's demise and speculates about its revival.

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