In a recent report for the European Commission on continuing education policies, Paolo Federighi warns of “a low level of protection with respect to the risks of mismanagement and corruption”. This arises, he says, partly because of the scarcity of clear information about the public financing of a broad and disparate sector.
Federighi emphasises that this is undesirable not only because it is so obviously immoral – it weakens the impact of public investment. And, I argue, it makes it much harder to argue a strong case for raising public investment in adult learning.
At a broader level, Federighi argues that adult learning and the corruption of public life are related to one another. His graph shows a clear inverse correlation between a country’s ranking on the European Lifelong Learning Indicators and its corruption rating. He concludes that “The European countries with a greater corruption index are those in which the conditions necessary to guarantee public participationin learning opportunities are weaker”.
Of course, correlation and causation are two different things. And perhaps both are caused by other factors entirely. But I would like to think that an enlightened and informed citizenship helps make for transparent and honest government, and vice versa.