Adios to adult education?

PUBLISHED: 11:02 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 22:40 15 June 2010

A SEATON woman who passed an A-Level in Spanish at the age of 80 has hit out at cuts in adult education.

A SEATON woman who passed an A-Level in Spanish at the age of 80 has hit out at cuts in adult education.Olive Clark, now 86, of Maple Close, studied at St Clare's Adult Education Centre for several years before gaining her qualification.She said the courses helped her get over losing her husband as well as providing a social outlet and mental stimulus.Mrs Clark, who also speaks French, German and Welsh, said: "They have been running down St Clare's for a long time. Ever since I took my A-Level they were concentrating more and more on younger people and putting prices up."I think it's a shame because we used to enjoy going there and they were reasonable courses. It would give me something to aim at and take me out of myself. It was a lot of hard work but it was an incentive to do something rather than mope around. "It was a bit like therapy and socially it is very good. Most of us are over 60 and we have been together for quite a long time and it's nice to meet up."For a lot of older people, exams frighten them, especially if they are not from an academic background. They really want to do it for social reasons - not have a mandatory exam hanging round their neck."She argued there is a large proportion of older people in Seaton and that St Clare's offered them a social and learning outlet.Mrs Clark, who has two sons - one who lives in Spain, with two children, found the course of practical use - enabling her to speak to her grandchildren and her son's wife.But she believes any study is beneficial in older age to prevent people becoming inactive and have a sense of purpose.She said: "When I passed my A-Level I was quite chuffed! I was able to turn round to my boys and say I've achieved something. And I'm always practising. It stands me in good stead, because I go to Spain a couple of times a year."I think you can learn at any age and I don't think age should inhibit you. Inclination is more important than anything. "Studying - not just languages - is very good as you get older and it prevents you from slipping into TV mode.

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