At first glance, David Willetts’ suggestion that the age limit on student loans be lifted to allow older workers to return to university is a less than encouraging reflection on changing economic realities.
The higher education minister’s comments imply a world where retirement is but a dim promise, even for the over-60s; where the necessity of re-training and re-entering the labour market extends far into what would once have been golden days of well-earned desuetude.
Look more closely, though, and there is more to look forward to. After all, education – like youth itself – is all too often wasted on the young. Indeed, many who found themselves unable to pay as much attention as their studies deserved first time around might relish the opportunity to apply themselves more soberly at a later date.