Making Sense of Lifelong Learning: Respecting the Needs of All

By Norman Evans | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

Catching up

Who are the missing learners?

Who are we talking about? And indeed what are we talking about? These are two sides of the same penny: people on one side and learning on the other. Given the story of the way that lifelong learning has evolved over the last half century both need a sharper focus in trying to work out what lies behind the present emphasis put on it.

Catching up is one way of looking at the issue. Given the very large numbers of people who are engaged in some form of lifelong learning already, it must be other categories of people who are being urged to participate, although there is likely to be some overlap. Given also the economic thrust which informs much of the rhetoric about more people becoming lifelong learners, there is an implicit admission that the country is not where it ought to be. So that rhetoric which from time to time is beamed at the country can be interpreted as an elaborate national game of catch-up in an effort to be where we ought to be. If this is the case then it is important to be clear who we are talking about.

At one end of the scale only one person in four describes themselves as a current learner and only one in three has taken part in education or training since leaving school, with only 14 per cent of employees being involved in job-related training and only one-third of employees claiming that their employers ever offered them any kind of training (Fryer 1997). The English case study in motivating students for lifelong learning in 2000 from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) listed one in four adults undertaking current learning, one in three having undertaken no learning since school, with 14 per cent of employees receiving some form of job-related training, one-third of employees never offered anything, 10 per cent of 16-year-olds not in education or employment and 40 per cent of 18-year-olds in no kind of training. The 2000 study by the Basic Skills Agency (BSA) found that 24 per cent of adults in England are functionally illiterate and that the same percentage of the population is innumerate. Simultaneously a comparative study by the OECD found that Britain had more illiteracy than other Anglo-Saxon and European countries. More alarmingly, whereas other

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Making Sense of Lifelong Learning: Respecting the Needs of All
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Lifelong Learning 5
  • Chapter 3 - Evolving Practice of Lifelong Learning 16
  • Chapter 4 - Catching Up 53
  • Chapter 5 - Motivational Mismatches for Lifelong Learning 69
  • Chapter 6 - Towards Wider Participation 95
  • Chapter 7 - Widening Participation - Doing It 128
  • Chapter 8 - Postscript 156
  • References 160
  • Index 163
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