June 14th, 2005


Adult Learning & the Demise of the Evening Class

I just read on the Guardian website, that goverment funding is being withdrawn for adult learning. See articles below. I find this profoundly depressing. The two articles paint a very British picture of learning, particularly within the context of evening classes. The Goverment's preoccupation with qualifications and vocational skills to the exclusion of everything else, seems to me to be all wrong! Learning is good in and of itself, this seems self evident to me. Adults should have the opportunity to learn at all stages of their life, regardless of whether the skill will bring them a better job or qualification.

My Dad (a very dedicated and experienced amateur sailor) learnt navigation at evening classes, many many years ago. He did all the RYA theoretical and practical qualifications, up to Ocean Master. He now teachers navigation at evening classes and charters yachts almost every weekend in the summer, to give his landlubber 'beginner' navigation students practical navigation and sailing experience on the water. This is what education and learning is about. Long live Evening Classes!

How we learned to learn at night: Helen Pidd charts the history of the 'useful knowledge' industry.
Read the Guardian Article

Lesson's over : Whether it's in pottery, upholstery or Cantonese cuisine, there's something quintessentially British about evening classes. But now many are being axed as funds are diverted elsewhere. Self-confessed evening-school junkie Sue Arnold (skilled in thumb-pot jugs, aromatic duck and speed Finnish) laments their demise
Read the Guardian Article