The Centenary Commission on Adult Education, "A Permanent National Necessity..."
Adult Education and Lifelong Learning for 21st Century Britain. 60pp
The Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) very much welcomes the publication of this report. The Centenary Commission has taken the opportunity offered by the anniversary of the publication of the iconic '1919 Report' on adult education to produce its own report on the state and possible prospects for Lifelong Learning in the twenty-first century. Furthermore, it shares with the original, produced at the end of the Great War, a sense of national crisis and real urgency.
The Centenary Commission has adopted an approach as comprehensive as that of the 1919 Report itself, which ran to several hundred pages and set out a synoptic future vision which was both philosophically based and highly detailed in its recommendations. The Commission takes inspiration from the remarkably prescient pronouncements of 1919: education is 'a permanent national necessity, an inseparable aspect of citizenship, and therefore should be both universal and lifelong'. Again, following the 1919 original, this report makes a wide range of recommendations for revitalizing learning, formal and informal, and for all modes and stages of life. UALL, as the association for lifelong learning in higher education, especially welcomes the recommendations for the university role in lifelong and community learning:
The regulator … should require any organisation that wishes to describe itself as a University to provide adult education and lifelong learning, of types appropriate to their role in the local community, compensating for past disadvantages, and utilising radical and engaged forms of education. All universities and colleges should be required to participate [and] … to deliver adult education and lifelong learning. Access and participation plans should include appropriate targets reflecting a progressive increase in the provision of adult education and lifelong learning. Reference to the diversity of the student body must include age diversity, to ensure 'second chance' provision is being made by all universities.
UALL has its roots in the 1919 Report. The central recommendation of the Report - that universities should provide adult education to their local communities, gave rise to the extra mural departments and their national association, which grew into the university lifelong learning community we know today. UALL therefore, as an inheritor of the values of the 1919 Report, is very pleased to commend the Centenary Commission and to look forward to the implementation of its recommendations.
Prepared by Professor Bill Jones, UALL Trustee, The Reverend Canon Professor Peter Neil, UALL Chair