ERIC Number: EJ871054
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
"I'm about Giving Power to Those without It"
Adults Learning, v20 n6 p20-22 Feb 2009
John Hayes, Conservative Shadow Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, is unstinting in his enthusiasm for what adult learning, in all its forms, can achieve. Adult learning has many virtues, he enthuses, not all of them economic. Learning for its own sake is "a noble purpose" while education can help build "a cohesive society, with fulfilled individuals and collective contentment". However, Hayes is just as clear that, in times of recession, employability "becomes disproportionately significant as a measure of adult learning's effectiveness". The 100 million British Pounds adult Community Learning Fund, outlined in the Conservative policy paper, "Building Skills, Transforming Lives", "would need to be allocated against that background", with adult learning "that leads to employability, or greater employability, or the capacity of people to change direction" to the fore. Would a Conservative approach to education, then, be far removed from the emphasis on skills and employability which has seen a reduction of 1.5 million publicly funded adult learning places over two years under the present Government? Hayes responds with a pledge to "counter" the loss of places. The Conservative approach to education could not be more different than Labour's. Where the Government has any regard at all for adult learning, it sees it "as being wholly, or chiefly, utilitarian in purpose". It is important that, in response to recession, one is not "blinded to the greater purpose of learning, the way that learning can change lives by changing life chances and can build a society which is more civilised because people have been engaged in the purposeful acquisition of knowledge or skills". This is how Hayes sees the fund for adult and community learning working, putting in place "a range" of provision, some of which is directly linked to response to recession, some of which is targeted at "disengaged, unrepresented groups". The Conservatives also propose to establish a 100 million British Pounds fund for young people not in education, employment, or training (the so-called NEETS), aimed at "helping this group into positive work-oriented learning opportunities". Both funds would be delivered through further education (FE) colleges. By reducing state control over colleges and creating a "streamlined funding model where government support for training follows the learner" Hayes hopes to see "a flowering of all kinds of creative partnerships between colleges and employers, and other agencies, to deliver to learners what they want and to provide employers with what they need".
Descriptors: Employment Potential, Adult Education, Lifelong Learning, Adult Learning, Higher Education, Employment, Partnerships in Education, Apprenticeships, Small Businesses
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A