Speech to Finchley Workers’ Educational Association
|Document type:||public statement|
|Source:||Finchley Press, 22 September 1961|
‘QUALIFY IN YOUR CAREER’ M.P. ADVISES
W.E.A. starts new Session
The need for young people starting a career to gain qualifications was stressed by Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, M.P. for Finchley, when she spoke at the opening meeting of the Workers' Educational Association at North Finchley, on Wednesday last week.
She said the need for scientists and specialists had increased rapidly over the last fifty years and young people starting a career today needed to qualify.
"Adult education is a means to better vocational qualifications," she declared.
"People think a ton of experience is worth an ounco of theory but you do need qualifications and experience. Increasingly one will need both".
Attitude at home
She said a young person's approach to further education depended largely on the attitude to work at home. Some children might have a good I.Q. but did not want to learn. But if the parents were interested in education that often stimulated the children and made them take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that were there for the asking.
Mrs. Thatcher said it was often difficult to persuade children to go in for further education because people thought of education as a training for a livelihood, That, she added was only part of education.
As the compulsory school-leaving age rose, so juvenile delinquency increased, and it was important to influence teen-agers to distinguish between the true and false.
She urged the need for more interlectual exercise and said once the desire for knowledge was aroused a movement like the W.E.A. could follow it up.
"We are fortunate in that the movement offers a highly skilled tutor. It is so much easier when you have someone to direct your thought", said Mrs. Thatcher.
She said that one of the important things in education was to discuss and argue with someone else. Adult education also offered the opportunity of study without the threat of an examination hanging over one's head.
Another advantage, said Mrs. Thatcher, was that one did have the time and desire to read more widely.
The W.E.A. is a democratic organisation controlled by its individual members and by its affiliated societies. It is a voluntary body with a record of nearly sixty years of fighting for better educational opportunities for everyone.
Its organisation is designed to help the thousands of people in all walks of life who want to know more about the world in which they live and to fit themselves for effective action in the field of their interest. It organizes hundreds of classes every year on a wide range of subjects, with the syllabuses chosen by the class members in collaboration with their tutor.
They may study human beings and their psychological relationships or international political relationships, or explore the great heritage of the arts. The W.E.A. can help those who wish to progress further by facilitating full time study courses at colleges, or even degree courses in universities.
The W.E.A. does not demand entrance qualifications or ask its students to pass examinations. It asks for interest and willingness to learn.
It does not adhere to any party line but welcomes all viewpoints and thrives on free discussion.