... we think education stops around the end of the second decade, and that people will then get on with the next stage of conformity, as both cogs in the wealth-production machine and consumers of its outputs. But education should be a lifelong endeavour. When it is, it is richly satisfying and keeps minds fresh and flexible, and maintains interest in the possibilities of the world.
I have lost count of the number of times I have heard the phrase 'adult education is my lifeline'. It really is life enhancing, transforming and, in some cases, life saving. Its sacrifice on the altar of employment skills is a major act of social and cultural vandalism. Grayling continues by picking up on a long running theme of this blog,
By one of those incomprehensible acts of stupidity of which governments are so frequently capable, our own has decided no longer to fund "equal or lower qualifications" in higher education, meaning that if you have a bachelor's degree in English literature and after 20 years in the workplace wish to study for one in computing or nursing, the government will not fund it. So much for the tens of thousands of people who, part-time, continue with or return to higher education to extend and refresh themselves by taking up new subjects and opening new horizons.
He actually gets something wrong, which makes the situation even more bizarre. The government is exempting Strategically Important Vocational Subjects (SIVS) and nursing is one of them. That means that you can become a nurse but not a computer scientist, an arbitrary division that will affect real lives.
In these times, every voice raised in support of learning for life, in both senses of the term, is welcome if we are to fight back against the triumph of a narrow and bureaucratic concept of education. Bravo Grayling!