This year, the EAEA Grundtvig Award will be given to a project successful in engaging new groups of learners.
One of the key challenges in adult education is often described as the “Matthew effect” – those who have will be given more and those who don’t will have less. This means that those who already have higher levels of education are more likely to participate in adult education. Partly this is due to the fact that they are more likely to be in the kinds of jobs where their employers offer training through their companies, but also because they more likely have positive experiences with learning and are therefore more likely to participate voluntarily.
The Award will celebrate educational practices from all over Europe that can demonstrate the use of creative and inclusive learning methods with outstanding results and the potential to be replicated and/or of inspiring others. The Award is not limited to a particular sector; lifelong learning covers education and training across all ages and in all areas of life be it formal, non-formal or informal.
The aim of the LLLAward is to give visibility to such practices in order to attract public attention as well as to inspire new practices and policies in the field. In 2016, the focus reflects the first priority of its Lifelong Learning Manifesto: “Building inclusive and democratic educational systems”. This priority covers different important issues such as citizenship and global education, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, fighting prejudices and discrimination, educational institutions democratic governance and learner participation, learning mobility for all and the use of arts and culture to tackle social challenges and enhance personal development.
An interesting webinar on Family Learning and Digital Citizenship took place on 26 April 2016. More than twenty participants joined the webinar under the lead of Susannah Chambers, expert in Family Learning.
This webinar, organised by School Education Gateway, explored and presented the links between digital communication technologies, Family Learning and digital citizenship. The webinar highlighted examples of how the power of digital communication tools are used by schools to maximise the positive impact on teaching and learning, enhance home-school communication and increase community engagement.
The Erasmus+ partnership ON THE MOVE just released a best practice guide on how to reach out to and include persons from vulnerable groups in the world of Lifelong Learning. The publication is based on reviews of more than 100 European projects, providing outreach educational guidance and low-threshold learning opportunities.
A major aim of the project is to make staff in counselling and educational institutions in Europe aware of "alternative approaches (predominantly of the outreach kind) bringing educationally remote and low-qualified people to further education and will implement these in their countries".
Urban populations have been growing more rapidly than ever in recent years: more than half of the world’s population nowadays lives in cities, and the number is expected to rise to 60 percent by 2030. Cities become increasingly influential in national and world affairs as they expand. However, this expansion is also presenting municipal governments with multiple challenges relating to social cohesion, economic development and sustainability.
A growing number of cities see the implementation of a lifelong learning strategy for inclusive, sustainable urban development as key to tackling these challenges. These cities are developing innovative strategies that allow citizens of all ages to learn new skills and competencies throughout life, thereby transforming their cities into ‘learning cities’. The UNESCO Learning City Award has been established in order to further promote lifelong learning for all and showcase good practice in building learning cities. It is conferred on cities that are implementing the Key Features of Learning Cities and have thereby achieved outstanding progress in building learning cities.
USR-NET promotes the incorporation of University Social Responsibility (USR) in University curricula and synergies among the Universities community and other stakeholders. The project is developing a learning guide of transversal contents for USR along with awareness raising actions.
LOCATE aims at building platforms of local community learning, media and participation to help develop community capacity and stimulate innovation, entrepreneurship and capacity for change by encouraging the discovery and use of untapped potential from within communities and territories.
The European Map of Intergenerational Learning (EMIL) is a collaborative network of members working together to support intergenerational learning taking place across Europe. Established in 2009, the network uses the existing expertise of partner organisations already working in the field to create a learning network for others involved in bottom-up as well as top-down intergenerational programmes and initiatives and across Europe.
Summary of the Learning Café on 'Social Inclusion and Economic Cohesion', which was conducted during the Final Conference of DISCUSS at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany in October 2015.
Social Inclusion can be described as the “provision of certain rights to all individuals and groups in society”, such as Education and Training (E&T), employment, adequate housing, health care, participation in sports and cultural activities etc. Social Inclusion is also a “term that can be used to describe a series of positive actions to achieve equality of access to goods and services, to assist all individuals to participate in community and society, to encourage the contribution of all persons to social and cultural life and to be aware of and to challenge all forms of discrimination. By ensuring that the marginalised and those living in poverty have greater participation in decision-making which affects their lives, will allow them to improve their standard of living and overall well-being.”
Economic Cohesion in turn, often used in combination with Social Inclusion “is an expression of solidarity between the Member States and regions of the European Union. This means balanced and sustainable development, reducing structural disparities between regions and countries and promoting equal opportunities for all individuals.”
RISE aims to remove the gaps in key competencies that create barriers to employment for refugees, by developing the focussed curriculum and accompanying learning materials, including interactive desktop and mobile games based learning resources, which are engaging and accessible to the target groups.
The RISE partner organisations worked with refugees and employers to identify the gaps in key skills that create barriers to employment for refugees. Workshops were held with groups of refugees from the three partner countries, to establish their support needs. There then followed a process of co-design with our end users, which confirmed the RISE project end products.
The 13th PASCAL International Conference, Learning Cities 2040 - Global, Local, Connected, Sustainable, Healthy and Resilient, is taking place from June 3rd to June 5th, 2016 at the University of Glasgow. It is will focus on future directions for Learning Cities at a time of considerable challenge and opportunity for cities, with significant development in their role and contribution to learning. Following soon after the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) 2nd International Conference on Learning Cities in Mexico City with the inauguration of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, the UN Paris conference on climate change, and UN decisions on sustainable development goals, the conference provides opportunities to share ideas and experience on the development and role of Learning Cities in this challenging context, with opportunities for fresh ideas and innovative forms of partnership.
Two years ago Prof. Michael Osborne asked me to contribute to a special issue of UNESCO's international review of education, dedicated to the topic of learning cities & regions. The publication should shed some light on quality in developing learning cities & regions, based on knowledge gained from EU sponsored projects and my evaluation work in the field. The following reflections build on the arguments already brought to the fore, and take those a step further by raising 8 fundamental questions towards building successful learning cities & regions.
In order to make lifelong learning reality, EU member states over the past two decades have promoted structural change in order to make their educational systems more flexible. More recently, national governments have started to decentralise the design and provision of adult education from the higher levels to local or regional governments, and to stimulate the building of local networks for lifelong learning. It is supposed that those networks are in a better position to react rapidly to changes and match learning needs with demands. Moreover, stakeholders on the micro-level are expected to bring learning closer to home but also closer to the situations in which it is applied (work, family, care, hobbies etc.).
One of the big talking points at last weeks DISCUSS conference in Munich was the current influx of refugees into Germany and the challenges for public services. It seems up to 5000 refugees are arriving daily at Munich’s main railways station.
Most participants at the conference would agree with Marcel Fratzscher, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), who is reported in today’s Guardian newspaper as saying the hundreds of thousands of newcomers this year as well as the hundreds of thousands more expected over the coming years, are a major opportunity for Germany and that its strong financial position makes it ideally placed to welcome them.
In 2013 (Jan. 1st), around 34 million persons born in a third country (TCNs) were currently living in the European Union (EU), representing 7% of its total population. Integrating immigrants, i.e. allowing them to participate in the host society at the same level as natives, is an active, not a passive, process that involves two parties, the host society and the immigrants, working together to build a cohesive society.
Policy-making on integration is commonly regarded as primarily a matter of concern for the receiving state, with general disregard for the role of the sending state. However, migrants belong to two places: first, where they come and second, where they now live. While integration takes place in the latter, migrants maintain a variety of links with the former. New means of communication facilitating contact between migrants and their homes, globalisation bringing greater cultural diversity to host countries, and nation-building in source countries seeing expatriate nationals as a strategic resource have all transformed the way migrants interact with their home country.
The other universities are University of Malta, Open University of Cyprus, Tallinn University and Universiti Sains Malaysia. A distinctive feature of this programme is the connection between theory and practice, gained through focused placements and mobility periods between the partner universities. It draws together the recognised strengths of the consortium partners into a relevant, joint degree that engages with and responds to such issues as social inequality, migration and intercultural cooperation.
The programme aims to deliver a curriculum that enables people to work with adults effectively and competently in changing socially diverse contexts. Students will receive a theoretical grounding in adult education, as well as intercultural and practical skills development through teaching placements, focused seminars and online courses.
The programme exemplifies a community of practice that has co-constructed the programme working in collaboration with associated partners who are practitioners in adult education. Co-construction will be a continuing feature of the programme as it is implemented from 2016. Very importantly the programme has attracted European funding to support some 60 funded studentships.
A number of recent events have highlighted the importance of lifelong learning in the promotion of integration of refugees and migrants in Europe.
On October 21, the Lifelong Learning Foundation of Finland brought together stakeholders in the area of adult education in Europe. Dr. Katarina Popović, Secretary General of the International Council on Adult Education focused on the importance of sustainable development goals in the field of adult education and learning in working with refugees, and on the theme of immigration. The President of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), Paludan Hansen, addressed one of the key trends of 2015, in relation to the integration and lifelong learning of refugees and migrants. through strengthening adult education opportunities, life skills for individuals, active citizenship in democracy and better sustainability can be achieved.
The learning city concept can contribute greatly to lifelong learning objectives within a community (rural area, neighbourhood, city or region). However, it must be well planned, engage stakeholders from across different sectors and most importantly provide a mechanism for monitoring progress.
I define lifelong learning using the PASCAL definition ‘structured, purposeful learning throughout the lifespan, from cradle to grave’. This links with the UNESCO definition of a Learning City, which feature the mobilization of resources for some broad goals to do with individual empowerment, economic and cultural prosperity, social cohesion and sustainable development. The resources include formal education, workplace learning, community and family learning, technology, ensuring a quality experience while developing a culture of learning within a community.
The MMS project is developing tools to assist migrants and minority communities to be part of the society and community in which they are living. Its aim is to provide a practical approach to addressing the reality within migrant and minority communities of being at the margins of society. One of the fundamental principles of Europe is the freedom of movement as exampled in the European Year of Workers Mobility 2006. There are many studies and research papers which demonstrate the economic benefits which derive from mobility.
However this can bring and particularly at a time of economic recession social and political pressures of resentment from the indigenous community. This sense of prejudice can lead members of the target groups to having low self-confidence and lacking a sense of ownership in local society. We need to address this by ensuring public services are inclusive and recognise cultural backgrounds.The focus of our project through training and workshops is to enable this dialogue to take place between the public sector and citizens from migrant / minority communities who are on the margins of society.
In many European countries migrant youths or young people from ethnic minorities do not have any role models in future-oriented fields throughout their job careers, neither within their families nor in their social contexts. If at all, they tend to take up traditional job trainings and jobs, as they and their families do not consider other options for various reasons.
Therefore it is considered crucial to offer youngsters mentors from their own ethnic communities who accompany them on their way to a successful VET and job career. Mentors are meant to support these youngsters as a role model in the education and training phase which is vital for their future career. It is considered crucial to offer youngsters mentors from their own ethnic communities who accompany them on their way to a successful VET and job career.
The project is developing and implementing a pan-European Internet Radio platform, incorporating Web 2.0 functionality, linked to innovative community based pedagogies – addressing employability, inclusion and active citizenship in an original and exciting way. The Internet Radio provides an innovative way to engage, retain and develop those who are excluded or at risk of exclusion, and its low-cost, extensibility and sustainability, compared with fm radio for example, is a key dimension in ensuring the success of this project.
Work-based and work-related learning in higher education for adult learners is seen as crucial to address labour market skills gaps predicted in European policy documents. It is also relevant to debates on work-related learning and upskilling that were identified in the Leitch Report produced in the UK.
The LETAE project funded by the EU under its Lifelong Learning Programme is concerned to identify good practice in partnerships and collaborations between enterprises, work organisations and employer groups and higher education institutions. It builds on the THEMP (Tertiary Higher Education for Mid-life People) project which concentrated on pedagogical issues related to adult learners in higher education; while in LETAE we are more interested in the work-based/-related elements of such programmes with a focus on partnerships and collaborations.
Main challenges of the ageing knowledge economy are constant upgrading of the skills of the active population and mitigating new and old social risks. In the aging society and the globalised knowledge economy, the people in mid-life are increasingly exposed to social risks of exclusion from the labour market. They are also excluded from formal Lifelong Learning (LLL), specifically Tertiary Lifelong Learning (TLL). The access of mid-life learners to TLL and their retention in the system have an increasing relevance for the socio-economic sustainability of the ageing European knowledge society.
TLL is considered a key to develop more inclusive and responsive universities. Opening HE for mid-life learners, designing flexible pathways from VET and professional experience to higher education, flexible learning arrangements conciliating family-work life and learning and the adaptation of didactical methods in HE are challenges to affront problems of the aging knowledge society. Opening Higher Education (HE) to this group is still a minor aspect of education and training reforms, but it is a strategic goal to raise the skill level of the adult EU population, as well as closing the mismatch between supply and demand for high-skilled workers.
The project aims to study the TLL of HE institutes in several countries with respect to inclusion of mid-life learners. At the core stands a comparative study with concrete example analysing statistically available data, making series of interviews with decision makers, stakeholders, lecturers and mid-life learners. The study will analysis the efficiency of TLL programs in achieving the integration of mid-life learners in terms of access to and retention in programs, their duration, the creation of learning pathways and didactical innovation. The results of this study will allow advances in the design of core conditions of socially and economically effective TLL programs for mid-life learners.
The MIGRANTS+ project aims at developing lifelong learning opportunities for adult emigrants in basic skills, developing the skills of training staff, administrative staff, who frequently deal with migrants, support staff of NGOs how to facilitate personal development and enhance the learning opportunities of migrants, enhance active participation of migrants in the host societies as equal members and preventing their marginalisation.
MIGRANTS+ has adapted and further developed the software tool produced by the FIL Leonardo project, which detects learning needs in basic skills such as numeracy, ict, use of internet, communication skills, human relations, occupational health and proposes users individualised training curricula. It has developed tests (pools of questions and respective set of curricula) for further skills, as language literacy (CZ, DE, EL, FR, IT, PL, TR), legislation (civil rights, employment laws and social security), knowledge of the culture of hosting country.
Over the past decade, the Learning Region has become a widely adopted concept in European education policies. However the concept has taken different forms and has been reflected in a variety of network figurations. From different departures points and though various pathways many projects have developed domain specific knowledge in the area of social capital building, governance and institution building, stakeholder collaboration, public-private partnerships and transversal cooperation. The basic intention of the R3L+ project was to capitalize on this diversity by bringing together actors from our respective countries in order to learn from each other and jointly elaborate a common quality framework for the development and management of cooperative learning arrangements among educational providers, SMEs and public agencies.
Findings from recent evaluations have shown that a major obstacle towards a broader diffusion of the learning regions concept is a lack of common quality instruments, which would allow for trusting and sustainable cooperation among educational actors. Following the priority of the Grundtvig call, the project addressed the problem of improving quality in adult education by reflecting good practice to be found in Learning Regions in the light of the Common Quality Assurance Framework (CQAF). More specifically the project capitalized on good practice found in Learning Regions, and further developed a common set of quality methods and instruments to ensure the development, assurance and improvement of the quality of learning networks in compliance with the Common Quality Assurance Framework.
From the project results the partners have derived a handbook, best practice guide and training module for managers and stakeholders of learning regions, which allows for the effective planning, implementation, evaluation and review of cooperation among educational providers within Learning Regions.
EUROlocal is the European storehouse on the local and regional dimensions of lifelong learning. EUROlocal reinforces the EC policy on lifelong learning regions by collecting the tools, strategies, learning materials, reports and everything concerned with their development. EUROlocal represents an easily-accessible resource for local initiatives to the collective experience and knowledge resulting from these pan-European efforts.
In progress ...