The ups of a formal education is to learn fast, fulfill pre determined tasks, much of the work is driven by the idea of train for the work place. At the free university the work is usually driven by the want to do it, self improvement, self determination and a hunger to learn. A much healthier and useful approach to education. Most of what we learn is learned outside of school anyway, and most of what we learn outside of school usually is more useful.
Most of us do not have the time to make for learning so it is important when we do use precious time we should make it as enjoyable as possible, as socialising as possible and include as many pupils as possible. In the free university we make our own timetables, pick our own subjects, and all of us are teachers and students.
There is no end of what can be learned or taught when groups of people apply themselves to the task. The pleasure of thought and participation in voluntary education is a guard against boredom and the reliance of the service industries for enjoyment.
Popular education has revolutionised community education in South America, and around the world and is starting to do the same in Britain again. For this is no new phenomenon, it is part of a tradition that is centuries old that has been displaced by education for industry, in school, in recent times. Now that industry has disappeared we have the opportunity to re-educate ourselves for more creative work perhaps in the creative use of the same technology that has taken away so many of the jobs?
1860 Culloden College
We rented a garret, for which we paid (I think) 25s. a year, bought a few second-hand forms and desks, borrowed a few chairs from the people in the house, bought a shilling’s worth of coals, had the gas (which was already in the house) laid on at the cost of a few shillings, and started our College. We did not advertise it in the newspapers or on the streets, for we could not afford to do that, but we invited all our friends and acquaintances to join us, and in a few days we had about twenty members. … We had no men of position o, education connected with us, and I believe we were better without them, but several of the students who had made special study of some particular subject were appointed teachers, so that the teacher of one class might be a pupil in another.
Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes