Main Article Content

Making space for adult learners in higher education

R Osman
J Castle


National policy in higher education requires higher education institutions to widen
access to adult learners alongside other previously excluded groups, yet gives few
indications as to how this should be done. The assumption seems to have been that
broadening access is sufficient in itself. In this article we argue that it is possible to
construct space for adult learners in higher education if institutions conceive of
access in its broadest sense, that is, when access is explicitly linked to retention and
throughput, and when learning is closely aligned to the changing context of higher
education and the workplace. We use adult education and social learning theories
to analyse an honours programme in Journalism and Media Studies where adult
learners have flourished because access has been linked to learners' motivation,
mindful adaptations to the curriculum, and support from the workplace.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 20(4) 2006: pp.515-527