The UK and the rest of Europe are in a period of significant demographic change.
People will work until later in their lives, they may have several careers and have to support children and elderly relatives for longer. To respond, we need a whole of life approach to public policy, well beyond the traditional split between schools, work, pensions and health.
The WEA believes that education is central to this approach.
Successful countries see education as an infrastructural investment which has transformational effects on productivity, social mobility, health outcomes and community cohesion.
Without access to education and lifelong learning we will continue to have a divided society in which human potential is wasted.
Education, at whatever age, changes people’s lives and allows them to take control over their destinies. It is the key to reducing inequality and promoting social mobility and inclusion.
We have proposed a manifesto towards changing the future for the better – socially, economically and culturally. We invite others to join us to support and develop these arguments over the coming months.
The manifesto sets out nine measures to transform adult education in the UK:
1. Ensure there is always an opportunity for adults to return to learning
2. Promote equality, opportunity and productivity at work
3. Develop educational opportunities for the most disadvantaged
4. Help people stay active throughout life through health education
5. Reduce health inequalities to give people more control over their own wellbeing
6. Promote tolerance and inclusion through access to English
7. Value lifelong learning so adults of any age can study
8. Help parents become educational role models
9. Value volunteering through a single credible set of measurements