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Adult Education - The missing two million


Fewer adults in England are benefiting from adult education classes. In 2003-04 more than 5.1 million adults were on courses funded by the Learning and Skills Council, but by 2006-07 this had fallen to just over 3.1 million. The figures showed a decline in adult classes across all regions of England.

As Workers went to press, campaigners were preparing for a lobby of Parliament on 25 February to protest about the cutbacks. The lobby is organised by CALL, the Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning.

The government has shifted funding away from adult education using the specious argument that the taxpayer shouldn’t be subsidising middle-class people learning holiday Spanish or flower-arranging. But according to surveys from the National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education (NIACE) it is the poorest who are being hit really hard.

A spokesman for NIACE said the most disadvantaged adult learners were among the worst affected. Numbers of people taking qualifications at below GCSE level have halved in two years, he said.