It's not too late for a return to equality

12th October 2007 at 01:00

The articles by Alan Tuckett ("Development will hit doldrums if adult learning bites the dust", FE Focus, September 21) and Paul Mackney ("Time for grown-up debate about adults", September 28) both have resonance in respect of reducing opportunities for adult learners in terms of variety, quality and quantity of educational programmes.

This is especially true of adults with learning difficulties andor disabilities. Under the stewardship of the Learning and Skills Council, there has been a systematic decline in provision of all types for this group of marginalised learners. The course fees being levied on adults with learning difficulties and disabilities who are in receipt of benefit can only limit participation. The significant reduction in access to learning for this already disenfranchised group is an indictment of the myopic approach of central government who can only perceive of education in terms of work skills or academia.

There is a demand for social, leisure and recreational programmes of study, self-help classes, basic skills and communications combined with constructive occupation sessions.

It is not too late to put creative thinking into action and recreate and revisit the diversity and breadth of provision and services that existed a decade ago.

Let us not repeat or reinvent history but learn from it in terms of access, plurality of opportunity and richness of choice that is sadly lacking now.

Len Parkin, Horam East Sussex

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