07.10.2015

EAEA Board meets with Julie Fionda, Member of Commissioner Thyssen’s Cabinet

During its last Board meeting, on the 24th of September, the EAEA Board met with Ms Julie Fionda, Member of the Cabinet of Ms Marianne Thyssen, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility.

The meeting participants discussed the role adult education can play in reaching out to disadvantaged learners but also in the refugee crisis, European instruments as EQF and ESF, the skills agenda and the importance of the cooperation between DG EAC and DG EMPL to keep a lifelong learning approach with a renewed focus on democracy and active citizenship.

European instruments for adult learning: the European Social Fund and European Qualifications Framework (EQF)

Ms. Fionda was particularly interested in hearing from the experiences the association and its members have with the European Social Fund and with the European Qualifications Framework, as DG EMPL is currently developing the skills agenda and is looking into EQF and other instruments.

“In Austria, we have state funded programme for language learning, for example, that are also funded by the ESF. It allows doubling the amount of spots and is used very effectively for integration,” said EAEA Board member Gerhard Bisovsky.

”In Estonia, there was a very good cooperation between authorities and CSOs on local level and the funds were used very successfully” illustrated EAEA Secretary General Gina Ebner. 

Upskilling people: priority of the European Skills Agenda

“We will issue a European Skills Agenda in first quarter of 2016“ said Ms Fionda. “We are looking at helping people get new skills and progress in work.”

The Commissioner’s three main priorities are upskilling people, VET and recognition of skills. The EAEA Board underlined on the one hand the importance of training people with transversal skills that are crucial for employment too, and on the other hand the difficulty to talk about upskilling the most disadvantaged people that are hard to reach out.

“Adult education is “messy”, said Joyce Black, EAEA’s Vice-President. “If we want to reach out to learners that would not come to courses on their own, we need to understand that it’s a long journey that is not necessarily linear. We need to provide support for these learners too.”

“Before upskilling people, we need to get them back into learning, said Ms Ebner. ”We have many examples of learners that started with some leisure course before moving on to completing degrees that allow them to find a new job. To achieve this, we need more recognition of the different forms of learning. Adult education reaches out to people that had bad experiences with schools and don’t want to go back.”

For a lifelong learning approach

EAEA President Per Paludan Hansen underlined again the importance of the cooperation with the whole lifelong learning scope, now that adult education and VET are under DG EMPL and not DG EAC anymore. Recent events as the Paris attacks and more recently the refugee crisis, which has seen civil society take an important role as facilitator , underline that more citizenship education is needed to learn to live together in society.

“We would like to have a European Year for Adult Learning to underline the importance of learning as a tool to get stronger cohesion on both the national and European level,” said Mr Paludan Hansen.

The EAEA Board would like to thank again Ms Fionda for taking the time to meet them and for the constructive approach.

Text: Tania BermanPhotos: Tapio Kujala

15.02.2024 Hall of Fame

Call for nominations to the Hall of Fame

The International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame has opened a Call for Nominations.

18.01.2024 Erasmus+

Survey reveals that European ALE organisations struggle with access to EU funding opportunities

In a recent survey conducted across adult learning and education (ALE) organisations in Europe in the framework of the Path2EU4AE project, a concerning revelation has emerged: many organisations lack crucial information about various European Union funding programmes available to them. While the Erasmus+ programme is widely known and used in the sector, other funding programmes such as CERV (Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values) and Creative Europe are still largely unknown to many organisations.

11.01.2024 advocacy

Stop taxing the right to adult learning and education!

The national and regional interpretations of the European Union's VAT Directive lead to financial uncertainties and problems for many ALE organisations in Europe. We demand a revision of the VAT Directive to exempt non-formal and non-commercial adult learning and education from VAT.