The new Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes MP, has described himself in Parliament as a ‘devotee’ of the WEA during questions on Adult Community Learning on 3 June. He went on to emphasise the value of adult learning and to welcome a meeting with the WEA.
In response to a question from Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly, Mr Hayes said, “I am not only an admirer but, I would go so far as to say, a devotee of the WEA. The value that learning brings, in elevating lives and building strong communities, is exemplified by such organisations, and I look forward to an early meeting with the WEA to discuss how we can move forward together.”
The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, also spoke about the value of lifelong learning in a speech to Cass Business School on the same day.
Cable said the priorities for his department included an “increased emphasis on lifelong learning, stripping out some of the bureaucracy around Further Education”. He went on to suggest in a question and answer session that the department’s lifelong learning budget may be safeguarded. “Education and learning are of course desirable in their own right. Education for education’s sake – learning and how to learn – benefits the economy in the long term,” he added.
Cable also spoke about how his mother’s mind was saved by adult education – she had a nervous breakdown when he was 10 and “spent time in a mental hospital”. “When she recovered she saved her mind through adult education,” he said, “learning about history, literature, philosophy and art for the first time”.
(Original story: http://www.wea.org.uk/weanews/minister_devotee_wea.htm)