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Adult education under threat

PUBLISHED: 11:30 26 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:17 12 August 2010

CUTS to over-60s subsidies will cause some educational courses to fold. From September the Adult Education College Bexley (AECB) will end 25 per cent discounts for over-60s due to the introduction of age discrimination laws. Bromley Adult Education Col

CUTS to over-60s' subsidies will cause some educational courses to fold.

From September the Adult Education College Bexley (AECB) will end 25 per cent discounts for over-60s due to the introduction of age discrimination laws.

Bromley Adult Education College (BAEC) dropped the discount last September because Age Discrimination Regulations 2006 forbid colleges from favouring the elderly.

The price-hike has forced John Johnson, of Arlington Close, Sidcup, to drop his Italian course starting at AECB in the Autumn.

The pensioner said: "If there is a fall off from the 1,363 over-60s doing courses then the repercussions for tutors and students could be extremely damaging."

The law was brought in to help prevent discrimination against vulnerable groups like the elderly, but unexpectedly caused a legal issue over discrimination in their favour.

Peter Coates, 71, of Arcadian Close, Bexley, said he can afford to continue his German course at AECB despite the price rising from just over £100 to £154.

The consultation Informal Adult Learning - Shaping the Way Ahead suggested some informal courses might be best taught out of college. A consultation report is due in September.

John Ruler, 71, of Hilldown Road, Hayes, worries that his art course at Bromley Adult Education College (BAEC) will become too expensive to attract students.

The retired journalist said: "They are vitally important at our age. We could see some of the courses disappear altogether."

Course costs at BAEC have risen by 7.5 per cent in the last five years.

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