IWCE Project tries to
* develop a diverse range of education materials and approaches for trade union and other working class and progressive movement groups
* respect the role of the working class in making history, and in making the future .
Seminar 1st June 12.30 - 3.30
RaHN background notes: On 11 February 2009 held a meeting with Colin Waugh speaking on “The Ruskin College Strike, Plebs League and Independent Working Class Education”, with these Notes circulated by Alan Woodward in advance:-
The historical events of a hundred years ago are still mulled over, and
concerned the responsibility for post-school education. In those years,
the unions in this country were extending their activities beyond the
realm of skilled workers and seeking to ensure a proper adult education
for those many less skilled who missed out on secondary schooling.
Many of those with high ability wanted university style education as
befitted their capacities, in order to take part in the expansion of
unions in workplaces, but this corner was being dominated by university
authorities. They tried to extend conventional education which directed
working class students away from the labour movement.
The few dozens workers students at
1909. They used the traditional methods and went on strike, making the
issue a national one. After a few months, when the academics did
not back down, the students established the Labour Colleges system.
Classes were run in numerous cities, correspondence courses were soon set
up and the adult education system divided down the middle as the
conventional teachers kept to their intentions. They continued with
the-middle-of-the-road Workers Education Association, the bitter rival
of what was to become the National Council of Labour Colleges, with its
own college in
when the TUC took over the residue in numerous cities.
The more aggressive unions, especially the miners, called on their
financial and political resources. They sent full-time students to
the NCLC and their members received correspondence sheets and other
materials for a decade or so. Then the situation was complicated by the
divisions within the labour movement as the political party adopted
conventional parliamentary procedures but many of the rank and file
supported the Communist Party and the new Russian society. Readers may
have their own views on the fate of the
continues for education free from open capitalist influences.
Colin Waugh who is active on the Post 16 Educator journal, has written
a booklet to tell more fully the story above. Today education is not
totally subject to strong influences from powerful institutions in society
but many union members feel that the old master institutions are still
very influential. And there is still alienation. Many children grow
up without any personal knowledge of how, where, when and where
unions can act to benefit workplace members, let alone the higher
reaches of current society.