In the news

May 19, 2000

Adult Learners Week, which begins next week for the ninth time, will be largely the creation of one man. Alan Tuckett, director of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education since 1988, instigated the week in 1992 and has coordinated it since.

It is a job that has earned him the reputation of Mr Adult Learning. His advice on the subject is sought by organisations ranging from government committees to the National Trust.

He did his own learning at the University of East Anglia, where he gained first-class honours in English and American literature and took up a three year studentship concentrating on the postwar period.

After a short time at Norwich School of Art, where he lectured in complementary studies, he became principal of the Friends Centre in Brighton, where he remained for eight years. He moved on to become principal at Battersea Adult Education Institute, part of the former Inner London Education Authority, before joining Niace.

President of the Pre-School Learning Alliance and a special professor in continuing education at the University of Nottingham, he served as vice-chair of the UK's National Advisory Group for Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning. Bob Fryer, chairman of the group, describes him as creative and a good communicator who knows the importance of celebrating achievement.

Tuckett has also acted as a consultant for the Further Education Funding Council, the European Union, the Overseas Development Agency and the Palestinian National Centre for Rehabilitation and Adult Education.

A passionate believer in the importance of adult education, he found himself accused of "moral authoritarianism" by schools chief inspector Chris Woodhead for suggesting lifelong learning should be compulsory, although he claims Woodhead quoted him out of context.

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