We'd learn new things, if only we had time

ONE in four people would like to learn a foreign language, and one in five want to be able to play a musical instrument, according to a survey of 2,000 people published today.

Sixty per cent of those interviewed, however, thought that they had too little time to learn anything new.

Many of the 2,000 said they would like to teach themselves something new - either for their personal development, career purposes, or to keep up with their children - if they had the time.

Computer skills were also high on the wish-list, with 19 per cent of the interviewees wanting to learn more.

The survey, commissioned by publisher Hodder & Stoughton, was published to coincide with the start of Adult Learners' Week, which will be launched tomorrow at a European conference in Manchester.

Raj Persaud, a consultant psychiatrist based at the Maudsley Hospital in London, has long been concerned with the lack of self-development in Britain. "Teaching yourself something new, whether it is computer skills or aromatherapy, provides new stimulation and energy and creates a more interesting and resourceful person," he said.