Commission for Adult Education defines agenda for ground-breaking research

Co-operative College vice principal, Dr Cilla Ross, is one of the members of the commission

The Centenary Commission for Adult Education set out the objectives for a report on 21st century adult education at its first meeting on 20 January.

The commission is part of a campaign to mark the centenary of the Ministry of Reconstruction’s Final Report on Adult Education, which laid the groundwork for British adult education in the 20th century.

Co-operative College vice principal Dr Cilla Ross, one of the members of the commission, wrote in a blog post: “For the Co-operative College and co-operative education more generally, this is a great opportunity to reconnect not only with its adult education roots but also to influence others on new, co-operative approaches to participatory and democratic learning and practice.

“After all, the co-operative movement began in communities using adult education to build co-operative identity and the skills of co-operators.”

The meeting was an opportunity for participants to discuss the role of adult education  in society. They also explored the impact its research, and subsequent report, could have on policy.

Related: Centenary commission on adult education holds first meeting

“What struck everybody around the table was the diversity of those in the meeting, the different aspects of adult education represented and the sheer passion and commitment of everyone participating,” said Dr Ross.

“After much wide ranging discussion, we agreed that our research should not only focus on the many excluded from adult education, but also acknowledge that rich and nuanced adult learning does still take place. We decided that we will conduct our research creatively and imaginatively, pushing new boundaries in communities and place and produce a report loosely organised as follows.”

The commission decided to split the report in three key areas: a broad survey of the adult education landscape since 1919, an evaluation of where adult education sits now, and an analysis of the findings followed by practical actions and recommendations.

The commission will meet again for activities and discussions on 11-12 March at the Co-operative College’s HQ in Manchester where adult learners and focus groups will also contribute.