Monday, October 12, 1998 Published at 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
Cybercafé lessons for the village hall
"Innovative" adult education will receive funding
Adult education projects are to receive £9m in extra funds, reversing what Education Minister George Mudie described as "years of decline".
"The new funding will give local authorities fresh scope to bring adult education up to date," said the minister responsible for lifelong learning.
Adult education should "open up local opportunities to local people", Mr Mudie said, suggesting projects such as literacy lessons on rundown estates or setting up cybercafés in village halls.
To receive a slice of the new funds, local authorities will be asked to submit "Lifelong Learning Development Plans", outlining how they intend to widen community access to education.
The £9m will be allocated as matched-funding to local authorities whose proposals are accepted by the government.
Promising funds for "imaginative" and "innovative" ideas for adult education, the minister said that he wanted to see community centres and schools being used "to bring learning closer to where people live".
Next year the quality and quantity of adult education is to come under closer scrutiny, when the government plans to carry out a national audit of the courses run by local authorities.
The government wants local authorities to take stock of their adult education services, using an inspection framework similar to that used in schools by the Office for Standards in Education.
"I am confident that over the next three years we will see a much greater emphasis on community based learning for people of all ages," said the minister.