HIGHER education is still failing to meet the needs of "older learners", adult education chiefs said this week, writes Tony Tysome.
While universities and colleges are increasing their intake of mature students overall, they are neglecting opportunities to recruit a growing number of people over the age of 50.
Delegates at a seminar organised by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education heard how the gap is widening between the proportion of over-50s in the population and their participation in higher education. By the year 2000, 40 per cent of the population will be over the age of 50, and a quarter will be over 65. Yet most mature students are between the ages of 21 and 40, with just 0.28 per cent over 50. Just 17 per cent of the Open University's students are in this age group.
NIACE assistant director Sheila Carlton said student support arrangements, which left the over-50s without the option of taking up student loans, were partly to blame.
But Jim Soulsby, who is coordinating NIACE's "older and bolder" initiative to promote the needs of older learners, said more institutions could be setting up partnerships between further and higher education to reach older learners.
Register to continue
Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.
Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:
- Sign up for the editor's highlights
- Receive World University Rankings news first
- Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
- Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Or subscribe for unlimited access to:
- Unlimited access to news, views, insights & reviews
- Digital editions
- Digital access to THE’s university and college rankings analysis
- Unrestricted access to the UK and global edition of the THE app on IOS, Android and Kindle Fire
Already registered or a current subscriber? Sign in now