The Rises and Falls of Adult Education on the BBC L’Éducation des adultes à la BBC : entre avancée et recul

Jones, Allan (2021). The Rises and Falls of Adult Education on the BBC L’Éducation des adultes à la BBC : entre avancée et recul. Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique, XXVI(1), article no. 11.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/rfcb.7377

URL: https://journals.openedition.org/rfcb/7377

Abstract

Adult education at the BBC has a chequered history. During the 1920s and 1930s, the BBC invested heavily in adult education, but after a promising start the scheme failed. Further rises and falls followed. The development of The Open University (founded in 1969) was seen as a new venture for adult-educational broadcasting, but broadcasts formed only a small part of its teaching material. Two extremely successful BBC literacy ventures during the 1970s and 1980s, however, showed what adult educational broadcasting at its best was capable of. Despite its chequered history, educational broadcasting has been deeply pervaded by ethical values and adheres to the founding principles of public service broadcasting.Adult education at the BBC has a chequered history. During the 1920s and 1930s, the BBC invested heavily in adult education, but after a promising start the scheme failed. Further rises and falls followed. The development of The Open University (founded in 1969) was seen as a new venture for adult-educational broadcasting, but broadcasts formed only a small part of its teaching material. Two extremely successful BBC literacy ventures during the 1970s and 1980s, however, showed what adult educational broadcasting at its best was capable of. Despite its chequered history, educational broadcasting has been deeply pervaded by ethical values and adheres to the founding principles of public service broadcasting.

La place de l’éducation des adultes au sein de la BBC a connu une histoire mouvementée. Au cours des années 1920 et 1930, la BBC investit lourdement dans l’éducation pour les adultes mais, malgré des débuts prometteurs, le programme se solde par un échec. La suite ne sera qu’une succession d’avancées et de reculs. Si la création de l’Open University en 1969 pu apparaître comme une initiative propice au développement de la radiodiffusion éducative à destination des adultes, les programmes diffusés ne constituent finalement qu’une part minime du matériel pédagogique proposé. Au cours des années 1970 et 1980, la BBC lance deux projets qui furent auréolés de succès, symboles de ce que la radiodiffusion éducative pour adultes pouvait produire dans sa forme idéale. Malgré cette histoire en dents de scie, la radiodiffusion éducative est restée pétrie de valeurs éthiques est s’est montrée fidèle aux principes fondateurs du service public de l’audiovisuel.

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