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New R&D centre to drive adult basic skills improvement


John Healey, Minister for Adult Skills yesterday unveiled plans for the establishment of a new National Research and Development Centre for adult basic skills. The centre will evaluate and direct strategy to improve the literacy, language and numeracy skills needs of 750,000 adults by 2004.

Mr Healey said: "There are still gaps in our knowledge about what will motivate adults with literacy and numeracy weaknesses to take part in learning... Our research and development centre will seek out best practice from around the world and test out new ideas and approaches to learning so that we enable all adults to reach their full potential. The centre’s work will be led by the Institute of Education in London and will be supported by the universities of Lancaster, Nottingham and Sheffield and other partners. The consortia members have proven national and international reputations, and they will conduct investigations into what works in helping adult learners to achieve."

"The National Adult Learning Survey published today shows that our adult learning policies are delivering real results. We have achieved the National Target for Participation in Learning – a seven per cent reduction in non–learners – one year early. That’s the equivalent of 500,000 new learners. The survey also shows that learners are being offered a choice of how they learn and this too is encouraging take-up – for example, computer-related learning has increased. There is more to do, and the research centre will help us identify where we should concentrate our efforts in future to ensure that all adults who want to return to learning and improve their skills get the help they need."


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