Adult Education and Lifelong Learning

“A Permanent National Necessity…” – Adult Education and Lifelong Learning for 21st Century Britain

100 years since the Ministry of Reconstruction’s adult education committee published its Report on Adult Education, the centenary commission I  sit on has published our report which argues that adult education and lifelong learning must be a permanent national
necessity, an inseparable aspect of citizenship, vital to addressing the huge societal divisions and challenges to democracy we currently face.

You can read the full report here: http://www.centenarycommission.org/

The challenges include the climate crisis; communities more divided than in living memory, with many feeling excluded from today’s politics; and artificial intelligence threatening to disrupt jobs and permanently alter the nature of work forever. The report mostly focuses on England but we did manage to get in some references to Scotland and Wales and to the potential of digital to transform the ways in which adult education can be offered and enjoyed. Funding for adult learning and apprenticeships has fallen by 45% in real terms since 2009-10, cutting adult education participation dramatically.

Our Report calls for:
• A national Adult Education & Lifelong Learning Strategy, with a participation target to reduce the gap between the most and least educationally active.
• A Minister with specific responsibility for Adult Education and Lifelong Learning to report annually to Parliament on progress.
• Community Learning Accounts, alongside Individual Learning Accounts to provide funding for informal, community-based learning initiatives led by local groups.

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