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Annie Hayes



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Inquiry into future of adult learning


An inquiry into the future of adult learning is being launched in London today, 25 September.

Experts from government, business, academia, trade unions and public service – with the assistance of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) – will come together to start a process intended to identify a broad consensus for the future direction of adult learning policy in the UK.

The inquiry will focus on how adult learning needs to respond to eight key themes:

  • Globalisation

  • Demographic change

  • Technological change

  • Poverty reduction

  • Well-being and happiness

  • Citizenship

  • Future role of the public, private and voluntary/third sector

  • Environmental sustainability

Chair of the inquiry, professor Sir David Watson, said: “Learning throughout the lifecourse is increasingly recognised as a foundation of both a cohesive community and a prosperous economy. As such, many influential individuals and groups think they know how to make it better. So far – in terms of both policy and practice in the UK – their solutions have failed fully to ‘join up’. We hope to help in improving this situation.”

Alan Tuckett, director of NIACE, said: “Demographic, industrial and technological change make the development of a strategy for lifelong learning ever more important to future economic prosperity. Research evidence of the intrinsic and social benefits deriving from adult learning is ever clearer. Yet current provision is weakening and fragmenting. Work towards an informed and authoritative strategy for lifelong, life-wide learning is of vital importance.”

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Annie Hayes


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