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The Learning Country: Vision into Action

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This document represents the second stage in The Learning Country programme that began in 2001 and highlights the increased education and training opportunities available in Wales from early years through to old age. It describes in concrete terms the key objectives and action the Assembly Government will be taking to make the Learning Country a reality.

When we published ‘The Learning Country’ in 2001 our intention was to provide a ten-year strategy that would embody vision and action, so that we might transform education and lifelong learning in post-devolution Wales. As this successor document demonstrates, the vision remains constant, although we have used the opportunity to both reaffirm and update it. There is much that we have achieved in the way of actions: but there is also much more to do in the period through to 2010 and beyond. This document sets out, in a new way, our future plans so that they are transparent and show our clear sense of purpose.

The Learning Country

This document describes a range of measures which aim at transforming the life chances of people in Wales for the better.

We face complex technological change and huge shifts in competitive pressures from within Europe and beyond. Many of our communities are vulnerable and disadvantaged. Our skills-base is relatively low. A great deal remains to be done to heal the significant divisions in our society - for the health and well being of everyone who lives here; to ensure that people can realise their ambitions; and to build a truly enterprising and creative culture, making the very most of our distinctively rich and diverse inheritance. These challenges are of historic significance. The consequence of not facing up to them would be threatening and bleak. Failure to match up to them cannot be an option. Above all, success depends upon a rapid acceleration in lifting our knowledge and skills-base.

During the two years since its inception, the National Assembly instituted a massive programme of support, development and change for training and education in Wales. The Paving Document 'The Learning Country'  consulted on a number of key policy directions and also on legislative proposals to give effect to them.  It was both the first comprehensive strategic statement on education and lifelong learning in Wales, and the first Paving Document for primary and secondary legislation in this field issued from the National Assembly. Its scope reflects the breadth of the portfolio of the Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning which embraces virtually all education and training matters, including:-

  • Sound Foundations
  • Comprehensive Education and Lifelong Learning in Wales
  • Learning and Equality of Opportunity
  • Progress and Practitioners
  • Beyond Compulsory Education
  • Access and the Future of Higher Education