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Voice of ECHO: A lesson we must learn.

EDUCATION for all? Well, that's the theory.

But what about in practice? Those of a nervous disposition may want to look away now. . .

Many will find it heartwarming that more than 21,000 people in Liverpool last year decided to take the plunge and sign up for the city's adult education programme.

And many will find the standard of the "education" they have received to be absolutely scandalous.

Taking that first step into adult education isn't always easy. Some people may happily dive in head first, but for others - especially those who found their formal education a real trial - it's a major step.

It's also a very brave step. We shouldn't underestimate the strength of character it can take for these individuals to pluck up the courage to even ask about the various courses on offer, let alone walk into an adult classroom for the first time.

For many, signing up for a course is as much a matter of improving their self-esteem and self-confidence as it is improving their chances in the job market.

And with this in mind, it would also be wrong to underestimate the scale of the insult, disappointment and frustration when courses are found to be poorly run.

The situation in Liverpool, we now know, is nothing short of shameful.

A report by government inspectors reveals that many classes are a shambles - poorly planned and poorly executed, in some cases by tutors who lack basic knowledge about their subjects.

The service's leadership and management is also castigated, and it now faces a full re-inspection within two years. Councillor Paul Clein, executive member for education, believes a new action plan will bring positive results.

It has to, because if the council fails in its duty to improve this desperate situation it will be guilty of killing the dreams and aspirations of thousands of its citizens.

Could do better? Could do much, much better.

The situation is nothing short of shameful
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Title Annotation:Leaders
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 18, 2006
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