A blinkered view of education as a "once and for all" childhood activity has been "very damaging", it was claimed this week.
Keir Bloomer, Clackmannanshire's education director, speaking at the launch of Adult Learners' Week, said: "Today's circumstances seem to demand the availability of educational opportunities on a continuing basis, and a blurring of the distinction between formal education, adult learning and training. "
Clackmannanshire has announced that 12 institutions and groups that offer adult education courses have formed an Adult Learning Providers' Forum to pool expertise and resources.
Clackmannanshire is Scotland's smallest mainland council, but a recent survey covering 7.5 per cent of the population revealed a huge demand for adult education. More than a third of 1,400 householders questioned said they were prepared to travel up to five miles to study.
The most popular subject choices were computing and word-processing, languages and aromatherapy. Researchers noted that only a handful of men picked word- processing, although a large number chose computing.
The main factors stopping adults attending classes were child care, which mostly affected women, and work commitments. Researchers were surprised to find that two-thirds of those questioned wanted to go back to school.