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Community benefits

Friday June 2 2000 WHILE I was grateful to see community learning featuring so prominently in the report by David Henderson (TESS, May 26), I would like to set the record straight on my comments and the last Government's agenda.

Community education, with its emphasis on informal education within community settings, found it difficult to justify its place within the vocational education agenda which has been the most prevalent over the last 15 years. Measuring the benefits of informal community activity was difficult. This is a slightly more complicated argument than simply saying that the last Government did not have an aenda for community education, as I was attributed to have said.

However, the new agenda of promoting active communities to combat social exclusion will itself promote lifelong learning and is exactly the right policy context for community educators.

I therefore remain convinced that the community learning strategies will allow us to be more explicit and visible in our work. It is unfortunate that this positive attitude was aligned with an article about cuts in community education budgets - a quite different argument.

Maria Walker

Area senior officer

Education services

Perth and Kinross

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