The International Council for Adult Education has called for action on January 26th to promote the universal right to lifelong learning.
The local and global challenges that we are confronted with cannot be adequately tackled without guaranteeing and promoting the right of youth and adults -- women and men -- to learn and practice the many skills of creative and productive citizenship. In this light, we are disconcerted with the fact that 750 million adults are deprived of their fundamental right to literacy (the majority of whom are women). Further, we condemn the blatant disregard for the Education for All goals two and three, by various governments and international cooperation agencies the world over.
In view of the Millennium Development Goals, we take the position that universal lifelong learning should not be its result, rather a prerequisite towards its achievement!
And what is England's response to this? A loss of 1,400,000 people taking publicly funded Adult Education courses over the last two years, the cuts in the availability of free tuition in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and a completely insane limitation on who can study at University that will disproportionately affect Adult Education and take out up to a quarter of a million part-time students. (The latter accompanied by a surreal threat that if the funding council doesn't implement the policy then the government will cease to fund the entire English Higher Education system - so there! Please call their bluff HEFCE, please.)
OK, this isn't the pressing need of the oppressed or the struggle for women's education worldwide, but we are one of the world's richest countries with a long tradition of education for adults. Understanding why we are abandoning it is beyond me.