More learning for older people Monday, January 23, 2012 - 14:20
When the 2011 census data is published it is expected to show nearly 1 in 5 of the population will be over 65. Estyn, the organisation that inspects education in Wales, in a new report, has called for an increase in learning opportunities for those older people.
"We have known for many years of the evidence that involvement in learning improves health and well being and increases social contact and we are pleased that Estyn has drawn the same conclusions" said Richard Spear, Director of NIACE Dysgu Cymru in welcoming the report. "Our learning campaign ALW in 2011 successfully engaged more than 6000 over 65s in Wales in learning and yet for the population as a whole despite the benefits 58% of over 65s have done no learning since school. They don't know what they are missing."
Older Learner of 2011 Derek Edwards said "I really enjoyed coming to WEA classes.... The carpentry workshop has got me out and got me doing stuff again"
2012 is the EU Year of Active Ageing and solidarity between the generations which provides an opportunity to focus. The Estyn report suggests that agencies need to work together to increase opportunities for older people and as a contribution to this debate tomorrow (24th January 2012) NIACE Dysgu Cymru is holding a seminar hosted by Mark Isherwood AM at the National Assembly, the results of which will form an action plan for the year's work.
"Part of the problem" added Richard Spear "is that across the UK we spend just over £8 000 a head each year on learning for 18-24 year olds and only about £86 for the over 50s. Just a small rebalancing may make a big difference to the quality of life of so many."