Adult Learners’ Week – celebration and challenge
June 20, 2014 Leave a comment
Adult Learners’ Week this year has seemed even more intense and vibrant than usual, with an almost overwhelming range of activities, stories and examples of personal success. People have gathered to celebrate adults’ educational achievements at local, regional and national award ceremonies. Award winners and nominees have told their amazing stories. Their families, friends and supporters have shown their pride.
Here’s a short film of national award winners.
We’re delighted that the WEA in Eastern region, working in partnership with the Unite the Union, won a national award for an ESOL ONline project which has made a real difference to migrant workers’ lives.
Twitter users can also get a sense of what went on during the week by following the hashtag #ALW14.
It has also been Learning Disability Week, with joint celebrations such as this event with WEA students in Plymouth to highlight achievements.
We need these manifestos more than ever because, although we know that adult learning works, we have also heard Rajay Naik from the Open University reporting that, “In last 18 months we’ve seen a phenomenal decline of 40% in part-time adult education numbers”. Despite knowing that family learning works and seeing compelling evidence during the week of the impact across generations, we have also heard suggestions of fining parents who do not read to their children, punishing adults who have not been served well by their own experience of formal education.
Educational inequality is still very much with us. We need to keep on tackling it. Adult Learners’ Week award winners and other successful students show how much different learning can make, but its potential is not recognised enough by the public or by policy makers.
We have a big job to do before next year’s Adult Learners’ Week to get even more people back into education and to support them into lifelong learning with all its benefits.