Author - Alan Tuckett, Fiona Aldridge
Adult - Educational Theory - 2010/05/31 - National Institute of Adult Continuing Education
The NIACE adult participation survey for 2010 shows a sea change. After years of falling numbers, and an ever-widening gulf between the learning-rich and the learning-poor, there was an upturn in the proportion of adults engaged in learning and in the number expecting to take part in the future. Current or recent adult participation in learning had risen to the highest level for a decade. Whilst this survey maps the continuing divide between people who have enjoyed the benefits of a good initial education and those who left education with little to show, there is evidence of a significant shift - most strikingly for working-class adults, and those who have had least benefit from learning to date. Is this the beginning of the Learning Revolution heralded in the government White Paper of last year? At the very least there has been a statistically significant shift in participation in learning of some kind - formal or informal, online or in the classroom or the workbench; there has also been a shift in people's plans to take up learning. As long as the learning divide persists this cannot be the Revolution; but it is definitely a change for the better. This survey continues the series documenting adult participation in learning in the UK. Using responses of around 5,000 adults, it offers key findings, breaking down trends in participation and future intentions to learn by gender, socio-economic class, age, employment and the regions. It provides up-to-date data as well as a valuable means for comparison over time. For the first time it includes a section on attitudes to learning.