With employment agencies now talking about a need for those 50 and over to reskill for another possible 20 years of work the removal of barriers to life long learning and support for mature students ought to be more forthcoming – both from employers and from government.
A recent report, Never Too Late to Learn: Mature Students in Higher Education, concludes that removing state support for access to higher education courses will stop thousands of adults from attending university-level courses as mature students.
The report comes after an 11% decline in the number of university applications by prospective mature students for 2012-13, compared with a fall of 1.6% for applications from sixth formers and says that, “The prospect of either paying higher level 3 course fees [for A Levels and equivalent courses] upfront or taking on one or two years of further education fee loans as a precondition for entry … is likely to act as a major disincentive.”
This is an issue of great concern to the Workers’ Educational Association which was established in 1903 as ‘An Association to promote the Higher Education of Working Men’, specifically to widen access to university-level education for working class people…
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