I’m extremely proud to say that I’ve been accepted onto the WEA Tutors Panel and hope to be delivering some courses in Coventry and Birmingham in the coming year.
The Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), founded in 1903, is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education and one of Britain’s biggest charities. The WEA is a democratic and voluntary adult education movement, committed to widening participation in learning and education with a social purpose. The WEA’s vision and mission statement states that the goal of the organisation is “A better world, equal, democratic and just”.
The WEA developed out of the working class self-education movement of the 19th Century, which included subscription libraries, mutual improvement societies, co-operative societies, trade unions, Mechanics Institutes and People’s Colleges and led to institutions like Birkbeck College, London and Ruskin College, Oxford.
I would contrast this with the enforced functionalism and work-focused instrumentalism of schools, colleges and universities in the neoliberal era, which has undermined the concept of education as a force for the self-realisation and self-actualisation of students not as potential workers but as fully realised democratic citizens.
“The field of education is a common upon which all people can meet and exercise rights, no matter what their differences might be in the ordinary activities of life… and this education that has no connection at all with a desire for success in life but only as an instrument towards the development of larger and fuller life… for education is ultimately of the spirit and is perceived firstly by the spirit.”
An Adventure In Education
The Story Of The WEA
Albert Mansbridge, 1920