Bishop calls for a “radical re-imagining” of continuing education

THE Bishop of Oxford has called for a “radical re-imagining” of continuing education in the UK.

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft. Photo: Tom Pilston

“We need a part-time education revolution for the 21st Century equivalent to the key education revolutions of the past which brings continuous learning to those in work and out of work,” the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft told the House of Lords on Thursday (July 5). Bishop Steven was speaking in a debate on part-time and continuing education and the future of the Open University.

Bishop Steven praised the OU, which is based in Milton Keynes in the Diocese of Oxford. “It remains at the forefront of lifelong learning through technology. I would echo all that others have said on the need to preserve, develop and build up its contribution to our national life and international reach,” he told Parliament.

Bishop Steven, who was on the Lords Select Committee into artificial intelligence talked of how AI can drive our economy, but will also result in major job losses, particularly in smaller northern towns and cities.

He said: “The Centre for Cities estimate that 27 per cent of jobs will be lost by 2030 in Doncaster and Wakefield, towns which already have a higher level of unemployment.

“What can be done to mitigate the effects of these massive societal changes with all their consequences for the worth and value of individuals?”

Bishop Steven concluded: “This new deal in part-time higher education needs to be, I would argue, means-tested at the point of delivery to prevent the stagnation of much of our economy. It needs to focus on the building of character and the formation of wisdom which is the mark of all good tertiary education. It has to be about more than knowledge and skills. It needs to be disproportionately focused in the areas of greatest need.”



Watch Bishop Steven’s speech here: //