We are pleased to announce that a grant of £605,095.18 (Full Economic Cost) has been awarded as an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Standard Grant, entitled, A UK-Ireland investigation into the statistical evidence-base underpinning adult learning and education-policy making. The PrincipaI Investigator is CR&DALL Core Member, Professor Ellen Boeren. Co-Investigators are Dr Queralt Capsada-Munsech also of the University of Glasgow and Professor John Holford and Dr Sharon Clancy at the University of Nottingham. The project has strong links with the Learning & Work Institute, and starts in early 2023.
The project starts from the observation that participation rates in Adult Learning and Education (ALE) have significantly declined over the past 15 years. This has caused significant concern to many stakeholders in the areas of economy, business, education and wider social policy areas. Apart from facilitating economic and societal benefits at a larger scale, research has also demonstrated individual benefits of learning in the areas of health and wellbeing. Within the UK, devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are in charge of education and training and design their own policies in finding answers to their own countries' economic and societal needs; within England, adult learning has in some areas been devolved as part of regional government 'settlements'.
The main objectives of this project are
- to investigate the (potential lack of) consistency of the current statistical evidence base on ALE across the four countries of the UK and Ireland (which is included in an already existing ALE working group - NALAB),
- to identify factors that contributed to the decline in ALE participation against economic, societal and political changes in the past 25 years,
- to investigate convergence and divergence of ALE discourses between the devolved administrations of the UK and Ireland with a specific focus on the role of evidence-based policy making through documentary analyses and in-depth interviews.
Congratulations to Ellen, Queralt, John and Sharon on winning this award.