Adults unwelcome

29th July 2005 at 01:00
I am depressed at the thought of adult learners being turned away from FE because of a lack of adequate funding. I am a lecturer now but was once in a similar boat as the 12.1 million adults in this country with low levels of literacy.

How did we get into this state? I always considered FE as the place for second, third, even fourth chances but now it seems the emphasis is simply on mopping up after schools. So where do the adults now go? The sense that they are being discarded is overwhelming.

Let's also not forget those for whom FE used to be a place to take courses in origami or life drawing without the burden of exams or targets.

The alignment of education and training with industry comes as we try to compete with the economies of the rest of Europe. This goal may however prove unattainable and the 16 to 19-year-olds on whom we are lavishing millions at the expense of others may prove unworthy or unwilling to help us achieve it.

For adult learners, the future looks rather bleak, while the pressure on today's youths to lift Britain back into the economic elite is ill-considered and possibly wasteful. An education strategy devised to serve the greater good of the country in terms far too abstract for your average teenager seems to me more like Maoist China.

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