10 reasons to Save Adult Education

Please sign and share the link to the petition to Save Adult Education. Evidence shows successive and massive funding cuts over recent years and a decline in numbers of adult learners in part-time education.

Why does this matter?

There are countless reasons, but here are some:

  1. Education equips us for life, but the world keeps changing after our compulsory school leaving ages. Adults need to adapt to social and technological changes if they are to keep up with developments. What is the cost of leaving people behind?
  2. Being able to read and write English fluently and to use numbers accurately are basic skills, not only for jobs but for understanding how public services work, being a savvy consumer, reading health information, taking an active part in society and for leading a dignified life. What is the cost of low levels of adult literacy and numeracy?
  3. All government services are now designed to be ‘digital by default’. How does this work for people who can’t use technology effectively? What is the cost of digital exclusion?
  4. Young people leaving school now without specific grades in GCSE English and Maths have to reach those standards. How will they be supported if full-time education didn’t meet their needs and adult learning is being starved of resources? What is the cost of limiting adults’ educational opportunities when need is evident?
  5. Many school leavers with low attainment levels will become parents of children who follow the same pattern. Educating the parents through family learning partnerships is shown to break the cycle and improve attainment levels for both generations. What is the cost of continuing cycles of educational inequality?
  6. Education is not just for work. It promotes health and wellbeing, reducing isolation for older people and keeping their minds active, while harnessing the benefits of their experience and knowledge.What is the cost of not enriching older people’s lives through learning?
  7. Low levels of participation in voting means that democracy is not representative. Learning about how political systems work is important if we are to engage people in civic life. What is the cost of disenfranchised citizens?
  8. All aspects of life depend upon adaptability and active minds. Learning to learn is a skill in itself. What is the cost of failure to adapt?
  9. Education is a means to address inequality in many forms.What is the cost of inequality?
  10. Learning is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Art, literature, history and culture should be available to everyone and not only those who can afford them. What is life without interests and pleasure?

Every question about cost can be replaced with another, more positive, about opportunities and possibilities.

Spending on adult education is an investment. There is evidence that it can lead to saving money in various government departments by reducing reliance on public services.

How you can help

1. Write to your local MP – the sooner the better

2. Spread the word on social media

  • Use #saveadulteducation on twitter and tell the world about the impact adult education has had on your life, family and community
  • Join our Facebook Campaign at https://www.facebook.com/saveadulted

3. Sign our campaign petition at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/sae

Go to the WEA’s website for more information about the Save Adult Education campaign.


About Ann Walker
Adult education and lifelong learning specialist and campaigner. LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1GI0QK1

6 Responses to 10 reasons to Save Adult Education

  1. Edward Thomas says:

    In 1967, I left school with no qualifications. At the age of 43, I took a City & Guilds Access Course at Hertford Regional (Further Education) College. I am now in the writing up stage of a PhD. I am a university lecturer in Criminology. I teach other mature student who study for a BA(Hons) and go onto become Child Protection Officers, Probation Officers, Youth Offender Managers, Social Workers and Police Officers. All because they have had the opportunity to undertake an Adult Education Access Course.

  2. Ann Walker says:

    Thanks for sharing this account your personal experience Edward. Your story is an excellent example of investment in adult education paying dividends.

  3. Pingback: 10 reasons to Save Adult Education | The MadHatter's Corner

  4. Thank you for your insightful article. None of us can be complacent about our social and technological knowledge, because these aspects keep changing in our ever digital society.

    Australia is heading towards an ageing population and as you mentioned above, public services are becoming increasingly digitised. And the costs are considerable. If everyone cannot adapt to the digitisation of services, taxpayers’ money is used for human labour and the cost of physically running the service, when it is more efficient and practical to move the service onto a digital platform. If there are more technological learning programs for older people, this will be more sustainable in the long term, and public funds can be used for more important services, such as healthcare and education.

    I also agree with point 6 and point 2 of “how you can help”. I am running a social media campaign along those lines. It is about reducing the loneliness and isolation of older people by connecting them to others through Internet technology. This is only possible if they are empowered to learn about new technologies. Personalised engagement strategies can be more effective than institutionalised learning, so I aim to mobilise younger tech-savvy people to teach their older friends and family to establish and maintain social connections by way of ICT.


    • Ann Walker says:

      Thank you for taking the time to add your views. The issues are widespread and it’s very valuable to connect ideas from different countries.

      Informal or community-based learning can bridge the gap between personal engagement and institutionalised learning, with expert tuition and peer support, but a spectrum of approaches should be welcomed and I wish you well with your initiative and campaign. There is certainly a need and it’s encouraging to hear about what you’re doing in Australia.

  5. Pingback: 10 reasons to Save Adult Education | The Echo Chamber

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