Divorcees, not gardeners, like to learn

May 17, 2002

Breaking up is not so hard to do for lifelong learners. A survey carried out for the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education has found that the proportion of lifelong learners in the population is higher among those who are separated and divorced.

John Field, professor of lifelong learning at Stirling University, said that learning was also much more common among people who used the internet and enjoyed socialising.

"People who regularly go out with family and friends are almost twice as likely to be lifelong learners," he said. "People who enjoy gardening, rather intriguingly, are less likely to take steps to update their skills and knowledge."

The survey does not reveal whether an interest in lifelong learning is the cause of marital breakdown, or the result.

Professor Field, who helped compile the UK learning omnibus survey and analyse the results, said: "There is a need for further research. Perhaps it's to do with flexibility and adaptability. People who enjoy learning for its own sake may also be people who enjoy the challenges of change much more, and are much less frightened by the prospect of breaking up."

Professor Field will today give an address on the survey at the Stirling centre for further education as part of adult learners' week.

The nationwide survey puts Scotland ahead of the rest of the UK. The proportion of Scots learning something new is 44 per cent, compared with 38 per cent five years ago.

Register to continue

Why register?

  • Registration is free and only takes a moment
  • Once registered, you can read 3 articles a month
  • Sign up for our newsletter
Please Login or Register to read this article.