Adult Education is a Permanent National Necessity19-November-2019
One hundred years after Lloyd George’s Ministry of Reconstruction’s adult education committee reported on Adult Education, the Centenary Commission on Adult Education’s newly-published report A Permanent National Necessity highlights how adult education is an integral aspect of citizenship and vital to addressing the huge societal divisions that exist across the UK. Adult education should not be regarded as a luxury for the few it contests, but instead as a universal benefit for the many.
The Centenary Commission’s report makes a series of recommendations including the need for:
• A national Adult Education and 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.
While the report tasks all universities with providing adult education and lifelong learning - where this should become a requirement for using the protected term ‘university’ – calls from the wider education sector echo its core reflections.
Chief Executive of Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales, the National Community College and democratic movement for adult education in Wales, Kathryn Robson, said of the report’s recommendations, ”The Centenary Commission have provided a positive guide on the needs and possibilities for adult education today and into the next century - we are very proud to have provided the Wales perspective for this. It is crucial that we nurture the skill of learning over a lifetime to secure informed, flexible, intelligent and healthy workforces and communities.”
“Access to education and training provides the bedrock to a society which can thrive and grow. For Wales, the economic, social and civic advantages of developing a truly lifelong learning society are profound; this would provide the cutting-edge needed for our communities to be resilient, for our economy to adapt to changing circumstances and for our democracy to thrive. The Centenary Commission’s report once again shows that much can still be learned from those earlier assertions which highlight the value and significance of investment in adult learning.”
Mrs Robson continued, “As The National Community College for adult learning in Wales, we contend that any proposed reform of current strategy should be modern, efficient and provide added value. We also believe that it must be socially responsible and sustainable. Adult and community learning is part of the fabric of Welsh society and enhanced provision would help ensure every citizen across Wales gains the right to lifelong learning, cementing key foundations for our society.”
Kathryn Robson, Chief Executive
Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales