Book about adult learning named after Birkbeck student

Gerald Nathanson graduated with a BA History at the age of 78

A new book tracing the history of adult learning in the UK from the mid-nineteenth century to the present has been named after a Birkbeck alumnus, Gerald Nathanson.

Gerald (pictured right) studied for his BA History at the College, graduating in 2012 at the age of 78. His story so inspired the book’s author, Dr Philip Stevens, that he named the book Rita and Gerald: Adult Learning in Britain Today, in reference to the popular play and film Educating Rita and Gerald’s experience as a mature student at Birkbeck.

The book shows how lifelong learning has adapted to change over the last two centuries and why the sector is today needed more than ever – a message that Birkbeck works hard to convey to government and policy-makers.

Built around the educational stories of 150 students in six institutions who are studying programmes ranging from entry-level English to postgraduate degrees, the book combines a theoretical perspective with insight into human aspirations.

Dr Stevens said: “Birkbeck College is the only evening adult university in the UK. Its students share a tremendous passion for learning that the College nurtures and nourishes with great sensitivity and exceptional teaching. I found Gerald’s story and enthusiasm incredibly inspiring and was delighted to be able to reference him in the book’s title.”