Although the frenzy over education cuts has been (conveniently?) replaced by other news, debates over the implications of changes to funding raise important considerations for our understanding of the education system. We have become conditioned to the idea that the purpose of education is to equip us for the job market and thus that once a foot hold has been gained in the world of employment our educational needs have been met. For some this means finishing education after secondary or sixth form, for others university, but for most “getting an education” has a termination point.
Cambridge has a global reputation for higher education but is not so well known for the work done at centres like Madingley Hall where adults from all backgrounds are able to continue their education in a variety of subjects and a variety of ways. One who knows best about this side of the city is the former Director of Public & Professional Programmes at University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education, Adrian Barlow.
In his new book Extramural: Literature and Lifelong Learning, Barlow challenges the understanding of education outlined above, stressing the importance of learning as a lifelong activity that helps us to develop and express ourselves to the best of our ability, vital to our own understanding and not just a means to an end.
At a time when the cost of education to the individual is going up, the opportunity to enter education later in life is becoming increasingly important and so too is the need to understand the real value of learning. All these issues and more will be discussed at the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning annual conference being held this year in Cambridge at Clare College on the 18th-20th of this month where we will be launching this exciting new title.
More information on adult learning in Cambridge can be found here.
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