a1 Department of Adult Education, University of Keele, Keele, Staffs, England.
As a result of the institutionalization of retirement and the development of an ageing population, a keen discussion has emerged concerning the nature of retirement education. Two major research projects (at the Universities of Keele and Surrey) have begun; and the number of books and articles devoted to the theme has expanded enormously over the past two years. However, despite this attention, pre-retirement education (PRE) is still struggling to find a secure foundation within the range of occupational and social policies affecting the older worker. There remains a feeling that it has yet to demonstrate its full value or potential – either to employer or employee. In this paper I shall argue that the reasons for this can be traced partly to the post-war origins of PRE, and the way these origins influenced the trajectory taken by retirement education. I shall go on to examine the effectiveness of PRE; to look at arguments about the adequacy of its present structure; and finally, look at the likely shape of future developments in the area of retirement education.