In a bid to help school leavers with their learning in England, they should receive £10,000 for investing in their education after they turn 18, says a report.
The National Learning Entitlement is being proposed by some of the country’s top educationalists with their paper being presented to a major conference.
They say that the system currently is not only inefficient and unaffordable but also unfair and inflexible.
The report claims: “Without a age cohort, university students get the attention and most financial support. It’s difficult to get compatible figures, but student funding for universities is around four times that given to students in other post-school institutions, particularly further education colleges.”
The report’s authors reveal that the funding for adult skills and education overall has been cut every year for the last 10 years and is now down to £1.5 billion which equates to a tiny amount per capita to pay for adult learning.
A ‘National Learning Entitlement’ fund
Now, the report says that a ‘National Learning Entitlement’ fund would enable people to access, for free, a public publicly recognised education and training system for two years for those who are older than 18.
The money could be accessed by adults without a degree and help reinvigorate adult education and deliver the culture of lifelong learning.
The report authors also states: “An advantage for the proposal is for encouraging diversity and innovation on the part of educational institutions – both universities and colleges.”
The costings would be around £8.5 billion a year which is much less than Labour’s suggestion of abolishing tuition fees for students.
The aim of the report is to create a debate beyond the focus on university education and students falling into debt.
England needs a more inclusive and broader system to encourage learning
The educationalists state that England needs a more inclusive and broader system to encourage learning at all ages among a diverse range of students which would cost less than tuition fees abolition.
They point out that a university graduate could use a cash entitlement worth up to £5,000 for two years to help reduce their fees for those who do not want to attend university and which they could use the cash to pay for further education courses and apprenticeships.
The report states that further education students are neglected in the public’s debate over the funding of education.
The report writers highlight: “Snobbery, unfamiliarity and sheer prejudice are among the reasons for neglect. It is time this changed and more needs to go into the system but on a much broader and different basis.”
How to allocate scarce resources for training and education
The Association of Employment and Learning Provider’s chief executive, Mark Dawe, said: “It’s certainly an interesting idea worth exploring further. We need to think, however, carefully about how to allocate scarce resources for training and education, especially for those aged between 18 and 24 because our overriding concern is over the negative impact on social mobility which many policies have at the moment.”