I was asked to respond to a presentation by Alan Tuckett at an event at the Institute for Education today in London. There were several presentations as part of the launch of the NIACE book 'Remaking Adult Learning'. I attach a .pdf of my presentation here: (Download Remaking Adult Learning).
My main point was to look at how the 'Skills Agenda' as a central element of government attachment to globalisation inhibits the possibility of social movement engagement with formal adult learning. This is partly because the sector became defensive; partly because it became incorporated and particularly because the ideology and practice of 'skills' is so pervasive. I noted that the current Data Service statistical release shows that, in just four years, we have lost 470,000 adult learners in FE in exchange for a measly 3.5% improvement in success rates.
I can't see how we can expect social movements to engage with adult learning organisations until we turn our attention away from the State's demands and focus on communities and students. At the same time, we need to persuade the government that this work should receive funding.
That will require a move away from the formula:
education = skills; skills = qualifications; qualifications = learning aims and learning aims lead to 'success'.
Not huge confidence in the audience that this could happen but, I think, general support that a turn toward communities and localities is what is needed.