Rescued but it is no thanks to the Greens
BRISTOL'S Adult Learning Service has been rescued this year, thanks to the support from the three main parties and the massive petition of more than 1,200 and pleading letters from 300 students and staff involved in the service in the city.
But it is no thanks to the shocking decision and behaviour of the Green Party councillors on the council, Tess Green and Gus Huyt, who set out to cut all funding and close down the whole service in Bristol.
Adult Education has already been seriously depleted in the city over the years and the only alternative to community education is the private sector trainers and language schools etc. Anyone who has attended these community classes, as I have, knows how beneficial they are to adults' well- being in learning new skills, overcoming isolation, and to provide enjoyment. The lessons offered in Shirehampton, St Paul's and Bedminster range from bicycle maintenance, drawing, Italian, singing to gardening, Indian cookery, dress making, from plumbing, Portuguese, computers to stained glass and photography. Yet why do the Green councillors deride this education and its benefits?
They certainly seem to hold crude prejudices towards the type of students they think attend these classes and they have a crass attitude to learning for adults, seeing it as a luxury and mere 'dabbling' in trivial activities.
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When I asked Tess Green recently about the Green Party proposals, she said everyone had to make sacrifices and threatened that she would "come for this service next year" Well, surely you don't scrap a really important service to fund an equally valuable service. What they must do is demand more money from central government and also look to some of the highly paid executives in the council employment. Isn't George Ferguson arguing to appoint a new city director on £180,000? How many others are there on bloated salaries? The mayor, too, does not seem to like adult education and has given no commitment to support it in future years, despite all his rhetoric that Bristol should be a city of culture and the arts. Well, these philistines have certainly lost my votes in any future election and, I suspect, those of the users of Bristol's Adult Education Service. I am a passionate believer in life-long education and with more retired and unemployed people, it makes so much common sense to maintain and even expand adult education.