A conference on Life Long Learning in London
23 May 2018
336 Brixton Road, London SW9 7AA
Another excellent conference attended by up to 50 people from a wide variety of backgrounds and from across London, with informative and stimulating presentations from different perspectives around the theme of life-long learning extending into older age. It took place on 23 May at the 336 Brixton Road Centre.
There were reports about the work that the University of the 3rd age is doing and how widespread this educational movement has become with nearly 400,000 students enrolled – over two thirds of the overall number of part time university students in the UK. Being self-organised and independent, this offers an opportunity for over 60s to learn about whatever they are interested in, where there are people able to teach the subjects which include history, languages, music, dance, art, plus standard academic subjects.
There were also presentations about other opportunities to learn for those from low income and trade union backgrounds which addressed the need for full opportunities to be made available for all who wish to learn regardless of their wealth, income or background. Our speakers were:
- Chris Walsh, overview of older people and Life Long Learning
- Prof Alex Murdock, Life Long Learning – the changing perspective of older people and the differences in lifestyle choice
- Ian Tucknott, Long Learning – the Future of Adult Education
- Hilary Farnworth, Curiosity and Later Life Challenges – the Ransacker Experience
- Eleanor van den Heuvel, Learning for Ageing Well
- John Miles, Active Minds – Still Learning’ Why we’re setting up a campaign.
Ransackers gave an excellent presentation on the opportunities that are possible for older students who did not have the qualifications or income earlier in life and wish to take up a degree or conduct post graduate research, and included examples of some of the research work they have carried out.
There was also a contribution from City lit who are one of the few adult education institutes still able to offer a wide range of academic and cultural subjects at low costs to adults of all ages – up to 95 years of age.
The issue of exclusion for older working age ( 50+) people to be able to access training and qualifications at work or while unemployed was discussed. In particular the fact that the over 50s have only half the in-work training opportunities that under 50s receive was seen as outrageous especially as people of 50+ when given training are more likely to complete and qualify.
These presentations were followed by three focus groups which collectively agreed a common set of recommendations to be taken on board by the Mayor of London, wider government and educational and training institutions to ensure that education and training is available to all.