UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Federal contributions to education for adults and to certain agencies of cultural diffusion: an analytical survey of developments in Canada from 1920-1960. Smith, Colin Henderson


This thesis attempts to marshall sufficient evidence in support of the contention that the Federal Government, notwithstanding the constitutional barriers that may exist, is actively engaged in providing certain forms of 'education for Canadian adults'. Terms have been defined. Among these the employment of the term 'education for adults' in place of 'adult education' is significant in that it attempts to circumvent unnecessary ambiguities. Such terms as 'agencies of cultural diffusion,' 'formal education for adults' and 'informal education for adults' have also been defined. Techniques employed to amass the information required have been explained. A close examination of the methods employed in giving Federal financial assistance is conducted. The recipients of such aid include: departments of the Federal Government, agencies of the Federal Government, Federal-Provincial cooperative arrangements, voluntary associations and individuals. Chosen as more detailed examples of Federal aid in support of 'formal education for adults' are the Technical and Vocational Training Programs and the University Grants System. Some questions raised by this study include: 1. Are the activities engaged in to be termed 'education'? 2. Does the Federal Government provide organized education for adults? 3. Do the activities presently engaged in by that Government take place because of popular demand? 4. Does the Federal Government give leadership within the broad terms of this inquiry, or conversely, does it indulge in expedients to meet currently stated public demands? 5. Does the B.N.A. Act block constructive thinking about Federal assistance to education? Certain basic trends that support the conclusions given have been recognized from the many examples of Federal involvement in this field. The conclusions arrived at by the analysis are: first, that a 'prima facie' case has been established in support of the contention that the Federal Government is actively engaged in providing certain forms of 'education for Canadian adults'; second, that in many cases there is a deliberately-arrived-at plan to do this; third, that those activities enjoy the popular support of most Canadians; fourth, that the Government initiates these schemes after the wisdom of such proposed action has been mooted by commissions of inquiry; fifth, that Federal leadership is far too reluctant in admitting that it so acts, and that if it did acknowledge that it was engaged in providing education for adults, it could do a more efficient job; finally, that the expression 'informal education for adults' does not constitute 'organized provision' of education. Two recommendations formulated from these findings are: 1. That Section 93 of the B.N.A.Act should be reworded. 2. That a nominal Federal 'per capita' grant be made to support: a. university extension work b. organized informal education for adults, to be channelled through the Canadian Association for Adult Education to national voluntary associations.

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