London Council For Adult Education
Historical Overview

Congratulations to the Council on their 60th Anniversary!


The London Council For Adult Education (LCAE) began in a formal way in January 1945, when, led by Dr. Richard E. Crouch, Director of the London Public Library, a group of prominent Londoners met to adopt a constitution which described the purposes of an adult education council. The foresight of Dr. Crouch and his colleagues was significant. Thousands of veterans of World War II would soon be returning. Added to them were waves of new immigrants from countries of different languages and customs. It was evident to those founding members of LCAE that adult education would have to be recognized as a growing need in our society.

After almost 60 years, the question has been raised, "Why have we lasted so long?" for LCAE is probably the most long-lived adult education council in Canada. What can be said about the question of such longevity? Certainly the integrity and skill of its membership stand out over all the years. It is remarkable that a largely volunteer group, each member busy in his or her own organization, has accomplished so much in so many ways. The emphasis of the Council has varied over the years. The activities in the early years, the writers' club, the film society, the Great Books groups-have now become part of the programs of other groups, such as the Community Relations Department of the Public Library. The Council now responds to deeper and genuine needs of society. It does this not by merely suggesting what those needs may be, but by finding out what they are, and by gathering and analyzing information from the appropriate organizations. It may be that it cannot find a way to meet the need. But it may also be that it can marshal the resources of its members in such a way that an important advance in adult education can be accomplished.

A recent example of this is the pressing concern over the proposed policy changes to maturity credits (which were to be implemented in September 2003). The Council wrote letters to Ministers Witmer and Cunningham and organized a forum to discuss these concerns with Minister Dianne Cunningham in February 2003. Our voice was heard and led to a reconsideration of this policy.

The objectives of LCAE are to encourage members to get to know one another, share information, avoid duplication, and even to ask their organizations to do the same. LCAE also recognizes an advocacy role, whereby through forums on issues affecting adult education, the Council may encourage those interested to "speak and act together in matters of joint concern." Other objectives include: acting as a clearing-house for adult education information, examining community needs, and keeping in contact with other adult education movements.

Each year in May, LCAE recognizes adult learners through its annual Adult Education Awards. Throughout the year, LCAE arranges its monthly meetings around issues of the day, such as the current issues faced by Foreign Trained Individuals, regular updates on the Experienced Worker Project and Literacy Link South Central and identifying several recommendations in Donna Sharon's research report on "Challenges Facing Unemployed Adults Over 45". One such meeting focused on the ESC-LM handout "Where Can I Go for Help?"

LCAE has very busy years ahead, as social issues continue to demand attention and public awareness and as we plan for our 60th anniversary in 2005.

Respectfully submitted,
Nancy McQuillan, Recording Secretary, LCAE, 2003