Letter: Our young coddled eggheads (3)

March 30, 2001

I can confirm Frank Furedi's observation about the rise in the number of parents attending open days - naively I once thought they might be prospective mature students. But I cannot let his comments on lifelong learning pass.

Clearly there is a sense that those who are not enrolled are not pulling their weight; but it is essential, for personal, social, civic and economic (the government's primary interest) wellbeing that a wide range of learning opportunities, under a variety of auspices, should be available throughout life.

I do not recognise his depiction of lifelong learning as a form of permanent tutelage. It is not the flip side of lifelong learning that people never quite grow up. Many other social changes are associated with the growth of "adultescense" and a commitment to an educated engagement with the world may help understand and counter that.

Nic Groombridge
Senior lecturer in sociology and media arts, St Mary's College, Twickenham, Middlesex

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