The launch of FE Week’s Save Our Adult Education campaign drew in huge support from 200 passionate supporters of lifelong learning as it was launched on Monday in the Houses of Parliament. The event saw a number of speeches from influential politicians, including apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon, and FE sector leaders.
The campaign is demanding three things from the UK government:
- Advanced learning loans debt should be written off, where adult learners have been unable to complete their course if a training provider goes bust.
- Government to consult on a proper adult education strategy, one that does not disappear under the political weight of apprenticeships and devolution.
- Introduction of FE maintenance grant loans for adult learners, which would make retraining possible for many more older people, by helping cover their living costs while studying, something that is already available to mature students in higher education.
Dr Susan Pember, HOLEX Director of Policy and External Relations, said:
“It’s really wrong now that we don’t as a society understand the benefits of adult education.
We know as educators that it works. It improves not just productivity, it helps to improve health. If you put people onto adult education classes instead of putting them on anti-depressants, its saves the government money for example.
We need a proper cross-government adult education strategy that lasts 20 years.”
Ruth Spellman, chief executive of the Workers’ Educational Association:
“Adult education is so important. The government needs to understand it is something that benefits the vast majority of the population.”
According to government figures, there are around 1.5 million fewer adults aged 19 or over participating in further education compared to 2007 and 2008, when the figure stood at 3.75 million.
Further information on the Save Our Adult Education campaign can be found on the FE WEEK website by clicking the link here.
Take part in the campaign: #SaveOurAdultEducation