Principles for public funding
Chapter 2 Section 1
2.1 After nearly two decades of inadequate investment in learning, we face a major challenge. The Government has already shown its commitment to education as its priority by announcing an additional £165 million for higher education and £100 million for further education in 1998-99, and by its pledge to support an extra 500,000 people in further and higher education by 2002. We are seeking views on a new partnership between Government, individuals and employers for further investment in the future.
2.2 Individuals, employers and the state should all contribute, directly or through earnings foregone, to the cost of learning over a lifetime because all gain from this investment. Individuals enhance their employability and skills, businesses improve their productivity, and society enjoys wider social and economic benefits.
2.3 The aim of public funding should be to widen participation and increase attainment at all levels where this will benefit society most; for example, investment in the highest levels of post graduate research strengthens our competitiveness. We propose the following priorities for public funding:
2.4 Public financial support for learners should be designed to: bring back into learning those who stopped after leaving school; address particular shortages; widen access for those who are disadvantaged; and enable individuals to choose the method of learning that suits them best. For other adults, the main responsibility will rest with them and their employers. The Government's role will be to provide incentives to adults to undertake training through individual learning accounts.
2.5 Individuals should invest in their own learning to improve their employability, professional competence, and earning potential or for leisure. Employers will continue to have responsibility for investing in the job and career-related training of their employees, although some public funding of employee training may be justified to promote broader learning and portable qualifications where this benefits the economy.
2.6 We will allocate public funding so as to encourage providers to find new, flexible and cost effective methods of responding to individuals' learning needs. We will reward them for retaining people in learning, for raising achievement and for excellence; and we will seek maximum leverage from others. We will also aim for greater consistency so that different providers get a similar balance in funding from the public purse, individuals and employers.
2.7 We expect all providers to continue to improve their efficiency in delivering learning. Co-operation between learning providers, between employer and employee, and between Government and the private sector will be the key to creative and effective use of funds from all sources.
2.8 We intend to make better use of the substantial sums which are currently invested nationally and locally, and of the resources in our schools, colleges and universities. Much more could be done to open up facilities outside normal teaching hours and term time (for example, evenings and weekends) and to use school premises, provided that this does not compromise the security of the schools' pupils and staff. In Chapter 4 we propose that partners in every area should work together to agree local access plans; these could also cover other community based resources.
Q. Are our funding principles the right ones?
Q. Are there further steps we should be taking to improve the balance of investment in learning between employers, individuals and the public purse?
Q. Is it realistic to expect individuals or employers to invest more? If so, what form should this additional investment take?
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