Adult education is vital in the fight against poverty but it has to work alongside other measures aimed at improving people’s lives, a detailed study of the impact of lifelong learning on poverty reduction shows.
Research commissioned by the independent Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning explores the public value of such learning, not only for the individual but for the family and wider community. The evidence suggests that lifelong learning works best when it is part of a broad set of initiatives and responses to the complex challenges people face at various stages in their lives.
The detailed study, including a reanalysis of more than 15 years of research into poverty reduction, was carried out by Ricardo Sabates, Senior Research Office at the University of London’s Institute of Education. He raises key issues around the potential of lifelong in helping cut the dependency of individuals on other often costly state-funded support services.
“This is an invaluable study, not only for what it says about the positive things lifelong learning can and does bring to us all but also in identifying areas that still urgently need to be researched. Indeed, much of the paper touches on wider issues around which this Inquiry is calling for evidence, such as the impact of learning on well-being and the higher benefits different forms of learning can bring. It is the first of a series of analyses of the public value of lifelong learning.
“Clearly, lifelong learning can help substantially to reduce poverty through the impact it can have on so many aspects of people’s lives. We need to ensure that learning opportunities are offered in such a way as to reach all these aspects.”  Read Dr Sabates' paper here