Report claims every adult should receive £10,000 for education and training
A new report compiled by the influential UCL Institute of Education (IOE) has recommended that all adults should receive £10,000 to spend solely on education or training, provided they do not already have a university degree.
The publication also states that employers should be entitled to spend funds from the apprenticeship levy to top up the money, called the ‘national learning entitlement,’ which could be put towards training outside of apprenticeships.
Reporting on the matter, FE Week explains that the IOE’s plan, which would total £8.5bn annually, would be cheaper than a similar initiative put forward by the Labour party during last year’s general election for a National Education Service.
The IOE’s strategy would also ensure that every individual would have access to free, lifelong learning, which would cost an estimated £10bn.
The national learning entitlement would have to be supported by employers, outlines the report, while the government would need to devise less restrictive rules regarding the way the levy is allocated. The authors state: “The apprenticeship levy in itself is a reasonable idea, but it is poorly designed and the resources raised can be spread beyond just apprenticeships.”
CIPD research cited in the report, titled ‘A national learning entitlement: Moving beyond University tuition fees,’ uncovered that a “clear majority” of levy-payers “would prefer a general levy, compared with just [17%] who like the current form.”
The levy, introduced in April 2017, is currently paid by employers which have an annual pay bill of at least £3m and is calculated at 0.5% of this payroll cost. It is estimated that it will raise £2.5bn each year until 2020, but can presently only be spent on apprenticeship training.
The report, however, outlines that changes to further education funding that would lead to a “broader and more inclusive system” that would “encourage learning at all ages by a diverse range of students.”
The £10,000 would be spread out across a minimum of two years, and put towards any “publicly provided, or publicly recognised, education and training.” This could include college courses or courses offered by universities and independent training providers.
Any course funded by the money could be studied over a period of years, resulting in a “flexible system” with “multiple stopping-off and re-entry points.” This would enable students to “weigh up their prospects and tailor their learning to their current circumstances.”
What do you think of the suggested overhaul? Do you think it would encourage establishments within the FE sector to offer more opportunities to learners?