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ERIC Number: EJ956963
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0955-2308
Too Narrow a Vision
Crowther, Jim
Adults Learning, v23 n2 p14-15 Win 2011
"Meeting the needs of the learner is at the heart of all our proposals", is the claim in the ministerial foreword to "Putting Learners at the Centre", the document in which recent pre-legislative proposals for reforming the post-16 education sector are set out by the Scottish Government. Such a grand claim warrants scepticism. Despite references to consultative arrangements, student partnership agreements to make transparent what students and providers can expect from each other, and consultations with the National Union of Students in Scotland, there are no concrete indicators of how learners will shape institutional decision-making. There are, however, some aspects of the post-16 education reform proposals which are undoubtedly popular. The retention of the Education Maintenance Allowance with a guaranteed income level of 7,000 British Pounds for full-time students in higher education is welcome. Also welcome is the commitment by the First Minister, Alex Salmond, that "the rocks will melt with the sun before tuition fees for Scottish students are introduced", thereby maintaining the principle that access to higher education is based on the ability to learn rather than the ability to pay. For young adult learners there are a number of options being proposed which may well offer a significant alternative to the dole queue: for 16-17 year olds deemed at risk there will be bespoke "activity agreements" including learning support supplied by community educators; for 16-19 year olds (the priority target group) there will be national training programmes or a guaranteed place in post-16 education provision; the creation of 25,000 work-based apprenticeships for each year of the Parliament's term; a Talent Scotland graduate programme; and interactive websites about the world of work and labour market opportunities, amongst other things. What is not on offer, the author contends, is a broad curriculum beyond the need to find work for a narrow age range. Adult learners in other forms of adult education do not get a mention in the post-16 proposals. Although reference to the expansion of part-time routes into higher education is made, a mere one sentence suggests little thought has been given to this issue.
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP, UK. Tel: +44-1162-044200; Fax: +44-1162-044262; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Scotland)