Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Meilhammer
Everyone has the right to education (Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948, Article 26) – all life long. To implement this right after childhood and adolescence is the fundamental aim of adult and continuing education.
Lifelong education is indispensable for industrial and postindustrial societies. There is no way past adult and continuing education, whether one is seeking to preserve the natural resources, or to strengthen democracy, to enable a prosperous coexistence of the generations and cultures, to advance society and economy, or to develop one’s own personality and increase one’s attractiveness on the job market.
There are manifold possibilities for doing professional work in the large, and still expanding, field of adult and continuing education: it includes general, cultural, vocational, political, and leisure-oriented education, as well as continuing education in the arts and sciences.
The professional motivation for working in the field of adult and continuing education is not so much characterized by instructing, guiding, molding, or helping, than by mediating, stimulating, motivating, facilitating, coaching, and evaluating.
The study of adult and continuing education is directed towards acquiring foundations and methods that further and broaden the ability of reflection and action in the professional field.