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Prof Jonathan Michie in The Guardian "Lifelong learning is vital for the economy and society"

January 31, 2024

Professor Jonathan Michie says lifelong learning is vital for the economy and society – there will be no levelling up without it.

Read his letter, which was published in The Guardian on 21 January in response to The Guardian view on universities: Australian lesson might spark much-needed change, 16 January:

You are right that Britain needs a universities review.  The final report from the Australian review is not yet published, but the interim report stressed the importance of lifelong learning, calling for the university system “to be better at providing a more flexible and adaptive approach to learning”. Any review of British universities needs to address the particular crisis in adult education and lifelong learning.

Reviewing Britain’s growth crisis in 2022, the Economist pointed out that in Britain “adult education has gone to seed”. Recent reviews of UK higher education have called for funding to be made available for lifelong learning. Instead, the lifelong learning entitlement is based on loans and debt.

Lifelong learning is vital for the economy, and also for society – there will be no levelling up or building back better without it. Adult education also contributes to personal wellbeing. And to tackle the great challenges we face, such as the climate crisis, requires an engaged debate and an ability to bring about change across communities, workplaces and societies.

All this requires a government strategy for lifelong learning. A review of higher education could be the launchpad.

Jonathan Michie OBE FAcSS is Professor of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Oxford, where he is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (without portfolio), President of Kellogg College, and an Honorary Norham Fellow in the Department of Education, and a member of the Department’s SKOPE research centre.

Read Jonathan’s letter as published in The Guardian here.