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The future role of adult education and lifelong learning

April 7, 2020

Online seminars offer an opportunity to add your voice to the debate.

A series of four, open, online seminars begins this week, championing the need for a national strategy for adult education and lifelong learning – and Kellogg voices will be a significant part of the conversation.

The seminars build on the work of the Centenary Commission that reported at the end of last year, and highlighted the need for a national and global strategy in this area. The Commission’s work echoed the 1919 Report of the Ministry of Reconstruction that led to the growth in provision of adult education and lifelong learning over the subsequent decades. Yet just when this is needed more than ever – with growing life expectancy, technological and industrial disruption, and societal challenges demanding discussion and debate – the Commission fears that lifelong learning is being neglected.

Kellogg College President, Professor Jonathan Michie served as Joint Secretary and Research Director to the Commission, and Visiting Fellow Melissa Highton and Bynum Tudor Fellow Lord Bilimoria sat as a commissioners, articulating the College’s commitment to lifelong learning, and its importance in industry and commerce, and society at large.

‘We saw aspects of the 1919 report that resonated for us today,’ explains Jonathan. ‘Peace and international cooperation were paramount concerns then, climate change is the pressing issue today. The campaign for gender equality still has objectives to achieve while our recognition of economic and social inequality extends into race, disability, sexuality, and social origin. The 1919 Report’s conviction that adult education can help heal fractured communities and foster a healthy democracy echoes down the years, helping communities to find a voice to influence local and national debate, and counteract a feeling of being ‘’left behind’’. And new technologies – Artificial Intelligence in particular – promise to change the employment landscape, make some jobs redundant and demand new skills of the current generation of workers.’

The seminar series has been conceived to address these themes. Over four weekly online events, the sessions will communicate the latest evidence and thinking, discuss and debate the issues, and resolve on action globally to improve wellbeing locally.

Alongside Professor Michie and Lord Bilimoria, alumna Ruby Wax will be adding a Kellogg voice in the first of these sessions on 9th April 2020.

All those with an interest are invited to participate. Find out more about the Centenary Commission’s work and reserve a place at the online seminars by visiting