In Section 1, we will present a list of the titles of various Acts and Regulations that have been supplied to us by each of the provinces.The basis for the initial gathering of documents was a letter addressed to each province, requesting 'copies of all legislation upon which your activities in adult/continuing education are based'. We asked for principal legislation and any additional statutes that may have a bearing on the practice. In addition, we asked for comment on the adequacy or the inadequacy of the existing legislation. We deliberately did not provide our definition of adult education at that time, since the way it is defined in each jurisdiction, assuming that the definitions differ, is of some considerable importance.
Following the titles and some initial commentary, we will, over a period of time, provide some analysis of the legislation in each province. We will reproduce only those clauses of the legislation that we believe to be significant for adult education, and comment on what possible alternative meanings they may have. In the case of the 'Education Acts' presented in the first phase of this enquiry, we will provide commentary on them against a background of the following four questions:
1. How is adult education defined in the particular jurisdiction? What terminology is used? For our purposes, we will use the present Unesco definition as a basis for commenting on those in use provincially and federally, largely because it is the most inclusive of all definitions in use.
the term 'adult education' denotes the entire body of organized educational processes, whatever the content, level and method, whether formal or otherwise, whether they prolong or replace initial education in schools, colleges and universities as well as in apprenticeship, whereby persons regarded as adult by the society to which they belong develop their abilities, enrich their knowledge, improve their technical or professional qualifications or turn them in a new direction and bring about changes in their attitudes or behaviour in the twofold perspective of full personal development and participation in balanced and independent social, economic and cultural development;
adult education, however, must not be considered as an entity in itself, it is a sub-division, and as integral part of, a global scheme for life-long education and learning;
the term 'life-long education and learning' for its part, denotes an overall scheme aimed both at restructuring the existing education system and at developing the entire educational potential outside the education system;
in such a scheme men and women are the agents of their own education, through continual interaction between their thoughts and actions; education and learning, far from being limited to the period of attendance at school, should extend throughout life, include all skills and branches of knowledge, use all possible means, and give the opportunity to all people for full development of the personality;
the educational and learning processes in which children, young people and adults of all ages are involved in the course of their lives, in whatever form, should be considered as a whole. (Recommendations on the development of Adult Education, Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Occasional Paper No. 34, Ottawa, 1980, p. 3).
* In preference to the term 'life-long education', we have chosen the term 'continuing education' defined as follows:
It is a system(s) of education which includes formal and non-formal education, that is defined with respect to its various parts and agencies (elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, and universities, for example) in terms of specific educational objectives to be fostered, rather than in terms of the ages or circumstances of learners. The system is available to persons of any age, part-time or full-time, voluntary or compulsory, and is financed by a mixture of private and public resources. It is distinguished from other educational activities in the society by the possession of the exclusive right to provide public recognition or certification for those completing its programs, though not all of its programs need lead to such certification. (Thomas, A.M., Ironside, D.J., Abbey, D.S., Draper, J.A., Brundage, D.H., Fales, A.W., & Kidd, J.R., New Reflections on a Learning Society: A Response to the Report: Continuing Education: The Third System, Published by the Ministry of Education, Government of Ontario, Toronto, 1981 (informal publication). Toronto: Department of Adult Education, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 1981).
2. Who are the students? Are adults specifically included, specifically excluded? What dimensions of the 'role' of student are specified in the legislation?