Tett, Lyn, Anderson, Kirstin, Colvin, Sarah, McNeill, Fergus, Overy, Katie and Sparks, Richard (2011) Literacy, educational policies, arts and prisons. In: Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference SCUTREA:Creating and Sustaining International Connections: exploring the learning opportunities for Studying Creative Understandings about Teaching and Research for Equity and Access. SCUTREA, Brighton, UK, pp. 155-162. ISBN 978-0-904242-71-3

The dominant international policy discourse in relation to literacy in particular, and
lifelong learning in general, assumes that the main purpose of engaging in learning is
to increase skills and employability and is based on a human capital approach to
education (Biesta, 2006). However, many participants in education are more likely to
be motivated by social rather than economic outcomes. For example, Tett and
colleagues in their survey of literacy programme participants found that many rated
helping their children with their homework or making friends considerably above
obtaining employment (Tett et al, 2006). This paper discusses the particular impact
that this discourse has in prisons where many prisoners have literacy difficulties
(Hurry et al, 2005) and as a consequence are expected to engage in education that
is focused on improving their skills.

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