A new conference looking at the role of co-operative education and opportunities opened up by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 is being held in Cardiff on 8 April.
Here is a report from Callum Johnston and David Smith, Secretary Co-ops and Mutuals Wales.
Cabinet Secretary Mark Drakeford AM, at the launch of the Welsh Government-funded “Care to Co-operate” service in 2016, spoke of his vision of Wales as a Co-operative Country. It is a vision that is not just about the distant future.
Co-production, mutuality and social co-operation are now enshrined in Welsh legislation, with specific references in the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act, and a strong resonance in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act. This provides a great platform for a co-operative Wales, but as was recognized in 2016 by the government-backed Co-operatives and Mutuals Commission, there is a need for the values, principles and skills related to co-operation to be embedded throughout the education system.
Education is at the heart of co-operative principles, and co-operators in Wales are now seeking practical ways of keeping education at the core of developments for a more co-operative and sustainable Wales. In particular, Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales are looking at how co-operation can play a bigger role, not just in the school curriculum, but in higher education, adult education and informal community education. It is not looking for out-sourced developments as in England, but for more ‘co-operation’ both as a subject and as a style within the educational curriculum.
Education should be ‘cradle to grave’ and comprehensive: formal, informal, adult and community. Methods should be appropriate to Wales – widely varying population densities necessitate e-learning and clustering of services.
A strategic focus is essential on co-operative education if the benefits of co-operation are to be achieved and maintained in Wales. Now is a good time to build on the momentum for co-operation started by the Co-operatives and Mutuals Commission.
Our next event, A Co-operative education system for a Co-operative Wales? ‘will be a facilitated day working with Dr Sue Lyle, retired Head of Continuing Professional Development at Swansea, Metropolitan University. Speakers include: Dr Cilla Ross, Co-operative College, Professor David Reynolds, Swansea University School of Education and Kevin Pascoe, The Open University in Wales (personal capacity).
The outcomes will be collated and should go some way towards answering the questions:
- Is there a need for Co-operative Education in Wales?
- What would an ‘excellent‘ Co-operative Education system in Wales look like?
- Can curriculum development and teacher training be given a co-operative nudge?
- How can Co-operative Education engage communities and embrace adult learning?
- What opportunities are opened up by the Future Generations Act?
Please come and join us.
Venue: Cartrefi Cymru Co-operative, Curran Road, Cardiff, CF10 9NB
Attendance: £10 payable in advance. Includes refreshments and report
For further details from Co-ops & Mutuals Wales email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are now taking bookings. We only have 20 or so spaces, and early booking is strongly advised. Our programme/booking details can be found at http://s.coop/25sp1 If you are unable to attend we welcome comments on questions posed for the day. You may have others!