By far the greatest provider of university-based lifelong learning is the Open University, which has pioneered many developments for part-time adult learners, especially in distance learning, and has developed a wide range of vocational courses at degree and sub-degree level. Both the Government and Dr Wright appear to be excluding the Open University from their thinking in an unfounded way.
Adult education is littered with failed initiatives, including providing the kind of "learning networks" Dr Wright envisages. I wish the project well, but grandiose schemes, and words, are no substitute for reality. The Open University has been a successful provider of lifelong learning for nearly 30 years.
Dr HELEN MATHERS
Open University associate lecturer