The authors conducted a comparative analysis of unique characteristics, conditions, and challenges of lifelong education in four major Asian countries, namely China, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. A documentary analysis of comparative education research and a context, input, process, and product evaluation model of educational policy research were used to systematically analyze the lifelong education policies of the four countries. In terms of policy background and environment, political and economic development, and Confucian ideology were analyzed. In terms of process conditions, the authors analyzed the definition and scope of lifelong education terms, innovative measures, and personnel professionalization. In terms of outcome conditions, the authors compared unique features, similarities, and differences among factors including the senior education development and unique advantages. China’s lifelong education policies are led by the government, and its lifelong education is closely related to its economic and social development. South Korea has complete lifelong learning certification and administrative systems, and Japan emphasizes lifelong learning through collaboration between local governments and private enterprises, whereas Taiwan is establishing a teaching system and improving teaching quality for community college courses. China’s main challenge is defining and integrating the lifelong education system with the national education system. South Korea lacks sufficient care provisions for disadvantaged adult learners. Japan lacks sufficient international exchange in terms of lifelong learning policies. Taiwan’s difficulties lie in the professionalization of lifelong education. The four countries are willing to accept and practice social reformation, resolve their lifelong education challenges, and advance toward an improved future.
Hui-fen Yang, Taipei City University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
Te-Yung Chang, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan