I am honoured to have been invited to join the Centenary Commission on Adult Education. The membership of the Commission is as follows:
- Dame Helen Ghosh DCB (Chair)- Master of Balliol College, Oxford. Previously Chief Executive, The National Trust; Permanent Secretary, Home Office; Permanent Secretary, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
- Sir Alan Tuckett OBE (Vice Chair) -Professor, University of Wolverhampton. Previously Chief Executive, National Institute of Adult Continuing Education; President, International Council for Adult Education.
- Melissa Benn- Author, novelist, journalist, broadcaster. Chair, Comprehensive Future; Council member, New Visions for Education Group; founder member, Local Schools Network; Advisory Board member, Oxford Women in the Humanities.
- Lord (Karan) Bilimoria CBE – Co-founder & Chairman, Cobra Beer; Chancellor, University of Birmingham.
- Dr Sharon Clancy-Chair, Raymond Williams Foundation. Previously Head of Community Partnerships, University of Nottingham; Chief Executive, Mansfield Council for Voluntary Service.
- Uzo Iwobi OBE -Chief Executive Officer, Race Council Cymru. Previously Principal Equality Officer, South Wales Police; member of the Commission for Racial Equality.
- Melissa Highton -Assistant Principal, Online Learning and Director of Learning, Teaching & Web Services, University of Edinburgh.
- Roger McKenzie-Assistant General Secretary, Unison. Previously Vice Chair, West Midlands Assembly; Midlands Regional Secretary, TUC; Race Equality Officer, TUC.
- Sir Ken Olisa OBE -Chairman, Shaw Trust; Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London; founder & Chairman, Restoration Partners; Deputy Master, Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.
- Sue Pember OBE- Director, Holex (professional body for Adult Community Education and Learning). Previously lead Director for FE, Dept for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) and Dept for Education & Skills (DfES); Principal, Canterbury College of F&HE.
- Paul Roberts -Chief Executive Officer, Aspire, Oxford.
- Dr Cilla Ross- Vice Principal, Co-operative College, Manchester.
- Sir Peter Scott -Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, UCL Institute of Education. Previously Vice Chancellor, Kingston University, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Professor of Education, University of Leeds; Editor, The Times Higher Education Supplement.
- Ruth Spellman OBE -General Secretary, Workers’ Educational Association. Previously Chief Executive of Chartered Management Institute, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and Investors in People UK.
The whole thing is being facilitated by Jonathan Michie, President of Kellogg College.
We hope to provide authoritative, evidence-based, recommendations on how ‘lifewide’ adult education – i.e., for all aspects and stages of people’s lives, and not just for work – should develop over the decades ahead. Our remit is the same as proposed for the 1919 committee: “To consider the provision for, and possibilities of, Adult Education in Great Britain, and to make recommendations.”
The Commission’s report will, attempt to cover the following:
- The need for lifewide adult education. Globalisation, technology and the changing world of work; threats to democracy and social cohesion; new social movements; demographic changes.
- The state of British adult education today. Who provides; who takes part; who does not provide; who does not take part. What types of provision are made (subjects, approaches, locations, media, etc.), and what are not. The relative importance of different types of provision for different social groups.
- The British contribution to adult education. A brief discussion of approaches developed historically in Britain, and of new practices developing today, and their contribution to democracy, civil society and personal growth.
- What we can learn from international experience. From UNESCO to the OECD; key reports; the impact of the current ‘output and measurement’ craze; international research.
- The structures, institutions and systems we need. Types of provision. Priorities for government: legislation, regulation, fees, public spending. What non-governmental agencies might do: local government, voluntary organisations, FE and HE, schools, private companies, etc. Meeting the needs of communities and social groups. Strengthening democracy in teaching and curriculum development.
- Implementing the changes. How can the changes be brought about: overcoming the forces in government, media and society that have inhibited the development of lifewide adult education over recent decades.
That’ll keep us busy!