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Ramsey voices concern at funding for community adult education

4 December, 2007

Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Sue Ramsey, who is the Chairperson of the Assembly Employment and Learning Committee, has expressed concern over the future of the community adult education sector.

Ms Ramsey was speaking at the launch of the Open College Network's (OCN) recently commissioned research carried out by EGSA entitled Learning Works - A Research Study into Learner Participation and Progression.

Mss Ramsey co-hosted the launch at Stormont.

Ms Ramsey said:

"The reality is that in the North we have high levels of economic inactivity and a significant proportion of the workforce has no qualifications.

"The concern is that the focus of specific employment related skills will be at the expense of social inclusion. For example the focus of the FE Means Business strategy creates a learning gap because non-economic study is not included.

"Sinn Féin believe that a commitment to adult and community based education is essential if we are to deliver for the most vulnerable in society, particularly people who are most removed from mainstream educational resources. These are the groups of people who will suffer most from a lack of support for the community adult education sector. This includes resourcing adult literacy and numeracy programmes.

"The general uncertainty in the community sector delivery of adult education services is detrimental. It is vital that community sector organisations can plan for the consistent delivery of services." ENDS

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