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Learning Through Life: Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning (IFLL)

Learning Through Life: Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning (IFLL)

Tom Schuller, David Watson

September 2009
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About This Publication

See full range of papers from the Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning (IFLL)

Learning Through Life is the definitive report into the future for lifelong learning in the UK. Essential reading for everyone with a personal or professional interest in the social and economic trends shaping tomorrow’s world, it provides a comprehensive vision for the future of lifelong learning.

For government, employers, civil society, the lifelong learning sector, broadcasters, researchers and the international community the report provides unique insights and recommendations guaranteed to generate debate across all areas of social policy.

Sponsored by NIACE (the National institute of Adult Continuing Education) this is the main report from the independent Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning and presents:

• the first authoritative and coherent strategic framework for lifelong learning in the UK for the next 10 – 15 years;
• an overview of the current state of learning in the UK; and
• radical recommendations for long term change.

Support for Learning Through Life

“The strength of this report is the fact that it recognises all of the strands that make up lifelong learning: in the community, in educational institutions, and of course through the workplace. Crucially, it identifies the major changes taking place in our society and the challenges they bring in maintaining functioning communities, and active and effective citizens.”
Rt Hon David Blunkett MP

“This is an excellent report and my party will study it carefully because we do want to reverse the shocking decline in adult education - in just two years, 1.4 million places have disappeared. We need to be much better at giving people a second chance. Fixing the problems will be difficult, but we can rapidly improve the information and guidance on offer. And we must start to move towards an adult education system that is more responsive to learners and employers."
David Willetts MP, Shadow Universities and Skills Secretary

"It is an excellent piece of work, combining powerful analysis and a compelling conceptual framework with solid policy recommendations."
Matthew Taylor, RSA’s Chief Executive

"This is a hugely impressive report from the Inquiry into the Future of Lifelong Learning. The inquiry's premise is that 'the right to learn throughout life is a human right'. That alone would justify the rebalancing of resources it proposes. But it also makes a more practical case: as our society ages, by 2020 we will see the number of people under 25 fall by 9% and the numbers in the 'fourth stage' rise by 28%."
Mike Baker, Guardian Education Correspondent

"Learning Through Life by Tom Schuller and David Watson is a fundamental and convincing report about the necessity to finally take the implementation of Lifelong Learning seriously. The analysis and data in the report helps the reader to understand the limits of our present learning and educational models, based on the principle of learning early on for later life, and the enormous potential in economic , social ,cultural, and individual terms of learning through life. The recommendations in the report on how to move forward are based upon the UK situation but they are highly relevant for all OECD countries and many new emerging economies on the global scene. It will be very difficult for the political community during the coming decade to ignore the recommendations in this report."
Jarl Bengtsson, former head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation at OECD

"We believe in equipping people of all ages with the financial capability skills that enable them to budget, save and borrow with confidence. More than half of all Citizens Advice Bureaux now offer financial education sessions in their local communities, and our aim is that all will do so by 2011. We welcome the report's pragmatic emphasis on providing the essential financial skills people need to function in the modern world. We are pleased to see the report recognises financial capability as key and we endorse its call for universal provision."
David Harker, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice

"Learning Through Life is a wonderful contribution to the scholarly and policy literature on life-long learning. Not only does it bring together cutting edge thinking about life-long learning from a sociological and human development perspective but also it offers creative policies and programs to make life-long learning a reality. Although it's written for a UK audience, it's applicable to an American audience as well, and I recommend it highly to scholars and policymakers in both the UK and U.S. who care about the future of the capacities of citizens."
Dr Fay Lomax Cook, Director, Institute for Policy Research, Professor of Human Development & Social Policy, Northwestern University, Illinois

“… will, I am sure, form the benchmark for international discussions on the distribution of investments for education at different stages in life.”
Madhu Singh, International Review of Education

Visit the Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning website


Preface: The process of inquiry
Summary of principal recommendations
Chapter 1 Opening up to learning: our vision and values
Chapter 2 The case for lifelong learning
Chapter 3 What's wrong with the system?
Chapter 4 Where are we now?
Chapter 5 Meeting the challenge of a change: a new model for the educational life course
Chapter 6 Enabling demand for learning: an entitlements framework
Chapter 7 Flexing the system: credit where it is due
Chapter 8 Capabilities and capacity
Chapter 9 Organising locally: governance and institutions
Chapter 10 Lifelong learning for a change: summary and recommendations
Annexe A Agenda for an intelligent system: measures, methods and milestones
Annexe B The Inquiry Commissioners
Annexe C Inquiry supplementary papers