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Learning is for Life campaign launched


Lifelong Learning Minister Malcolm Wicks today launched the Learning is for Life campaign to find Britain’s oldest learner. Speaking in Devon to Fred Moore, 107, who has been attending weekly art classes for the last twenty five years, Mr Wicks said:

"I am launching a campaign to find Britain’s oldest learner to highlight the point that learning is for life. I am delighted to be in Devon with Fred Moore, an example to us all of one of a select band whose learning will span three centuries. He would have started learning, no doubt, at his mother’s knee when Queen Victoria was on the throne and he intends to continue with his weekly art class into the new century.

"People like Fred show that we can all benefit from learning throughout our lives. We need to usher in the new century with an appreciation that learning is not something which is confined only to school, it is for life. There are about 9,000 people over one hundred years old in Britain, a proportion of whom will be studying like Fred. Certainly at 107 years, Fred could prove to be our oldest student, but I would like to hear from anyone of a similar age who is still learning regularly.

"The emphasis of state education in 20th century has been on expanding the educational opportunities of young people. In the new century we will move into a new awareness that Learning is for Life. New technology is likely to revolutionise the way we learn and the accessibility of learning materials. I want learning opportunities to open up new avenues for everyone from the youngest to the oldest.

"No-one can afford to stop learning when they leave school. To maintain their employability, people will need to keep learning at different stages throughout their lives. There will be those who have been too busy to learn a language or to master Information Technology, skills which can improve our employability as well as being fun to do.

"But learning is not just about employability. New research about learning in later life, which I will be publishing next month, will show that, of 300 people between 50 - 71 interviewed, more than half said learning improved their enjoyment of life and self-confidence. One third said learning improved their health.

"Fred reminds us that the period of our lives which we quaintly call retirement can last at least for 20 or 30 years. In a society which is getting older, learning can open up new horizons for everyone. People like Fred show us that lifelong learning is not just for work but that it can be a creative and enjoyable experience as well. Fred may or may not be Britain’s oldest learner, but he certainly is an example to us all."


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