There's another excellent post on liberal adult education and the threats to its continuing existence from the Fat Man here. It's ironic that a political party that arguably owes its existence to the adult education movement of the late 19th and early 20th century has done so much to undermine it since coming to power. First there was the ending of support for 'non-vocational' adult classes, and now we have 'ELQ': the decision to remove public funding for the teaching of students studying for qualifications equivalent to, or lower than, qualifications for which they have previously received an award. This will restrict the opportunities available to mature students who wish to change direction, or make up for missed opportunities, and runs counter to the government's rhetoric about 'upskilling' and 'widening participation'.
The Guardian published a letter the other day, protesting against the move, from the great and the good in higher education. Here's a snippet:
Widespread unintended consequences are likely, particularly in relation to widening participation. Significant numbers of adults will discontinue their lifelong learning because they cannot afford it. Their withdrawal will make large tracts of university continuing education unviable - often in the very institutions criticised for not doing enough to widen participation.
You can sign the petition against the ELQ policy here.